A day after India virtually turned down the US’ offer to mediate between India and Pakistan to se-escalate tensions, Pakistan has welcomed the US offer, saying "any positive role" America plays to bring peace and stability in South Asia can serve the region well.
Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Pakistan's envoy to Washington, termed US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley's remarks on Monday that the US would try and "find its place" in efforts to de-escalate tensions between India and Pakistan as positive.
"Any positive role that the US plays to bring peace and stability in South Asia can serve the region well," Pakistani daily Dawn quoted Chaudhry as saying.
Chaudhry said Pakistan is interested in such efforts because it "wants good neighbourly relations with India".
Pakistan's support for a third-party mediation comes after India rejected any role for the US in Indo-Pak issues. India said its position for bilateral redressal of all India-Pakistan issues "in an environment free of terror and violence hasn't changed".
Haley, a senior Indian-American member of the Trump Cabinet, made the remarks after the US assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of April.
She hinted that the Trump administration would participate in the talks aimed at resolving differences between India and Pakistan. It was the first time Haley, as a member of the Trump Cabinet, has addressed tensions between India and Pakistan.
A State Department spokesperson, when contacted by the newspaper, explained the US position on facilitating talks between the two countries.
"We believe India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation. We encourage India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions," the spokesperson said.
The US official also explained why Washington wanted to promote good Indo-Pak ties. "The normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India is vital to both countries and the region. Steps that initiate closer regional economic ties can also create jobs, lower inflation and increase energy supply," the official said.
The last sentence of the statement, however, stressed the stated US policy, which is close to India's stance on this issue, that all differences between India and Pakistan should be resolved bilaterally.
"We have and continue to encourage India and Pakistan to work together to resolve any differences," the US official said.
India has consistently ruled out third-party mediation, including by the United Nations or the US, and maintained that Kashmir was a bilateral issue. Pakistan, however, welcomes international mediation and regularly raises the Kashmir issue at various UN fora.
Yesterday, India's External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay snubbed Haley for hinting that the US was ready to mediate. He asked the international community to instead persuade Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorist attacks.
(With PTI inputs)