The United States on Wednesday applauded the first bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. The U.S. said that it supports any steps taken by the two nuclear-powered neighbors to strengthen their cooperation. The two countries have already witnessed three wars since independence.
“We applaud any efforts between India and Pakistan to create economic opportunities for the people of both countries that can contribute to a more secure, stable, and prosperous region,” said Jen Psaki, the State Department spokesperson, according to media reports.
“So we certainly support and applaud the news of the weekend,” Psaki said. “We continue to welcome any and all steps India and Pakistan take to strengthen and deepen their dialogue and cooperation.”
Another senior Obama administration official said that Washington is cautiously hopeful that that the meeting could be a positive indicator, but the U.S. is also mindful that this will be very important to the dynamic going forward. The official said the Obama administration is hopeful that the initial indication between both nations is a positive one.
The bilateral meeting took place on Modi’s first day at office. India’s new prime minister gave a direct message to Pakistan to abide by its commitment to control terrorism from its soil against India.
He also brought up the issue of 26/11 Mumbai attacks and stressed Pakistan to speed up the trial of the suspects. The two leaders discussed the issues pertaining to security and terrorist activities in the region.
Islamabad also echoed positivity after the bilateral talks. Sartaj Aziz, the advisor to Sharif on foreign affairs and national security, said in a press conference that Pakistan had conveyed to India that the people and the government of were committed to fighting terrorism.
The Delhi-Islamabad meeting is visualized as a significant step forward, the interesting part being that Pakistan’s prime minister attended Modi’s swearing-in ceremony apparently against the advice of hardliners in his country.