Change in tact?: US all but wants to stay out of Pakistan, India conflict

Says it wants to see regional stability in South Asia
<p>US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price. PHOTO: COURTESY US STATE DEPT</p>

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price. PHOTO: COURTESY US STATE DEPT

The United States on Tuesday all but said it wants to stay out of the current Pakistan, India conflict as Islamabad and New Delhi play roulette on kick-starting peace talks.

During his daily media briefing in Washington, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price was asked about Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent extension of an olive branch to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

“We have long called for regional stability in South Asia. That’s certainly what we want to see,” Price said, adding that it is something that Washington does want to see advancing in South Asia.

However, he noted that when it comes to partnerships with the two countries individually, these were relationships that stand on their own.

“We do not see these relationships as zero-sum. They stand on their own,” he said.

Reiterating Washington’s desire for regional stability, he said that the pace, the scope, the character of any future dialogue between India and Pakistan “was a matter for those two countries, India and Pakistan.”

Power break down

Price was also asked about Monday’s nationwide power breakdown and if Islamabad had sought Washington’s help in the matter given its past involvement in developing various parts of the grid – or stations that feed the grid.

Of course I’ve seen what has transpired in Pakistan. Our thoughts are with all those who’ve been affected by the outages, Price said, adding, the United States of course … has assisted our Pakistani partners across any number of challenges. “We are prepared to do so in this case if there is something that we’re able to provide,” he said, suggesting that it has to be Islamabad that inititates a request in this regard.

“But I’m not aware of any particular requests.”

Ties with Imran Khan govt

Asked how would the US approach a Pakistan if it were to elect Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan as the prime minister again, Price said that they were ‘open to work’ with any elected government in Islamabad.

“We are, of course, open to and would work with any elected government in Pakistan,” he said, adding that Pakistan remains an important partner of the US and that the two countries share several interests.

“We have demonstrated our desire to see constructive relations with Pakistan over the course of successive governments,” he said, adding that Washington judges governments by the policies they pursue.

“It would ultimately be a question of the type of policy that any future government of Pakistan might pursue.”

Press freedom

On the criminal charges against a senior journalist, Price said that they lay an emphasis on press freedom around the world. “Free press and informed citizenry are key for any nation and its democratic identity, its democratic future, the democratic aspirations of its own people,” he said, adding that they routinely raise their concerns about press freedom to governments, to stakeholders all around the world.

Imran Khan

Pakistan

India

peace

Narendra Modi

kashmir issue

power breakdown

Press Freedom

Tabool ads will show in this div