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US says will support more dialogue between India, Pakistan

The United States has said that it would support more dialogue between India and Pakistan but made it clear that it had no plans to appoint a special envoy to deal specifically with the Kashmir issue.

"We would support more dialogue between the two countries," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said at his daily briefing here on Tuesday.

He was responding to a question about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech in Parliament yesterday, in which he had said that India was willing to meet Pakistan more than half-way if that country took concrete steps to dismantle terrorist infrastructure in its territory aimed at India.

Mr Kelly was also sure that US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, who begins a four-day visit to India today, would talk with Indian officials about this issue, along with many other issues that he has on his agenda.

Asked if there was any prospect about a special envoy being appointed to deal specifically with the Kashmir issue, Mr Kelly said, "No, there's---there are no plans to that effect."

Dr Singh had said yesterday that he sincerely believed that it was in India's vital interest to try again to make peace with Pakistan and hoped that the leaders of the neighbouring country would create an atmosphere in which this vision could be realised.

"If the leaders of Pakistan have the courage, the determination and the statesmanship to take this road to peace, I wish to assure them that we will meet them more than half way," he said.

He said he expected the Government of Pakistan to take strong, effective and sustained action to prevent the use of their territory for the commission of acts of terrorism in India, or against Indian interests, and use every means at their disposal to bring to justice those who have committed these crimes in the past, including the November 26, 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai. "I believe that such actions will be welcomed by the people of both countries," he said.

"What is at stake is the future of one-and-a-half billion people living in South Asia. I sincerely believe it is in our vital interest therefore to try again to make peace with Pakistan. I recognise, it takes two hands to clap. There are some disturbing trends, but I do hope that the Government of Pakistan will create an atmosphere in which we can realize this vision," he said.

The Prime Minister's remarks assume great significance because India has refused to resume the composite dialogue with Pakistan unless it acts decisively against those responsible for the Mumbai attacks, which claimed more than 160 lives. India also wants Pakistan to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure it says exists on Pakistani soil and which is targeted against India. In recent days, there have been media reports suggesting that India thinks it should find a way of resuming the dialogue with Pakistan.

NNN

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