By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad– The US Department of State has called on both India and Pakistan to hold direct talks and resolve pending issues with an aim to normalise relations.
Refraining to comment on the recent approval and then cancellation by Pakistan to import sugar and cotton from India, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the US supports direct dialogue between the nuclear-powered neighbours.
“I wouldn’t want to comment on that specifically. What I would say is that we continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on issues of concern,” he said.
Pakistan cancelled its trade ties with India during August 2019 after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Indian government abrogated Article 370 and 35A and changed the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.
Pakistan was quick to respond to Indian actions, as it cut off diplomatic relations with India, sending back the sitting Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, closing the borders, disallowing visas and suspending all trade ties.
Pakistan demanded that there can be no talks with India until the reversal of the decisions Indian government took on August 5, 2019.
However, a change in policy was witnessed recently when the two sides mutually agreed to observe a ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC), ending the escalating tensions.
This was followed by positive hopes filled letter from Modi to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, expressing hopes and desire for peace.
Khan responded to the letter with similar sentiments, calling for dialogue to end the longstanding disputes between the two countries.
On March 31, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) announced that it was going to allow import of white sugar and cotton from India for the country’s private sector, to cover the shortfall of requirements in the country.
However, the federal cabinet deferred the ECC’s decision on April 1, putting the condition that there can be no trade with India until New Delhi reverses its decision to abrogate Article 370 and 35A.
It has been reported that friendly countries have been contacting both countries through backdoor channels, urging both sides to initiate dialogue and explore options to resolve the pertaining conflict and disputes for regional stability, peace and development.
Pakistan had called for the US’ intervention in the matter during the tenure of former President Donald Trump’s administration.
However, its efforts did not yield fruit as the US clarified that it cannot intervene in a bilateral matter until both sides agree to it.(IANS)