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    Days after Sharif’s offer to hold talks with Delhi, US says ‘we support direct dialogue between India, Pakistan’

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    Washington | The US supports direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on issues of concern, a senior Biden administration official has said.

    There has been continued strain in ties between India and Pakistan on a number of issues including Islamabad’s continued support to cross-border terrorism and the Kashmir issue.

    India has been maintaining that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan while insisting that the onus is on Islamabad to create an environment that is free of terror and hostility for such an engagement. India has also asserted that Jammu and Kashmir “was, is and will” always be part of the country.

    “As we have long said, we support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on issues of concern. That has long been our position,” State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters on Wednesday at his daily news conference.

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    Miller’s remarks came two days after Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif offered to hold talks with India to address all serious and outstanding issues. Bilateral relations between Islamabad and New Delhi have been tense since August 2019 when India changed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

    On India’s ties with Pakistan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that it is not possible for India to have normal relations with the neighbouring country until the policy of cross-border terrorism is abrogated.

    “We can’t allow terrorism to be normalised; we can not allow that to become the basis for getting us into discussions with Pakistan. To me it is a fairly common sense proposition,” he said in June.

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