Kashmir is a 'contested territory', says US ahead of NSA-level talks

'US is hopeful that the NSA-level talks will be successful'

Lahore/ New Delhi: Ahead of the proposed NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan, the United States has said that Kashmir is a "contested territory" and urged both sides to resolve the issue.

Peter R Lavoy, Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council of the White House, said that it was up to both India and Pakistan that they address the issue together.

Lavoy was quoted by The Nation as saying that the US maintains its stand on Jammu and Kashmir, adding that it "acknowledges that it is a contested territory, a contested border" between India and Pakistan.

US is hopeful that the NSA-level talks will be successful and the country supports peaceful engagement to resolve any kind of issues, said Lavoy.

On Friday, India and Pakistan sparred through verbal and written statements over Islamabad's determination and intention to meet with separatist leaders from Kashmir ahead of the proposed August 23 and 24 NSA talks.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday sent across a strong message to Pakistan, insisting that there are only two stakeholders in the talks between India and Pakistan and added that New Delhi is committed to discuss the issues peacefully and bilaterally.

"India remains committed to discussing issues with Pakistan peacefully and bilaterally. Unilateral impositions of new conditions and distortions of the agreed agenda cannot be the basis for going forward," MEA spokesperson Vikas Swaroop said.

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that the High Commissioner's invitation to the Kashmiri Hurriyat leadership on August 23 was very much in keeping with the practice and tradition of the past many years.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz for the talks in the national capital on Sunday.

( Source : ANI )
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