WASHINGTON: Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson of the US Department of State, has suggested that continued communication between civil and military leaderships of Pakistan and India was important to reduce tensions.
Speaking to journalists during a routine press briefing in Washington DC on Friday, he said that the White House was following the situation on the ground very closely and urged calm and restraint by both the neighbouring countries
“We understand that the Pakistani and Indian militaries have been in communication and we believe that continued communication between them is important to reduce tensions.”
Toner continued and said, “I think we don’t – certainly don’t want to see any kind of escalation and any – and certainly any kind of break in that communication.”
He said the United States was concerned over the danger that cross-border terrorism poses for the region.
The envoy of the United States said Washington had no prior information about the so-called Indian surgical strike on Pakistani soil.
Answering to a question how the US was assessing the cross-border claims made that Pakistan and India made after their Line of Control (LoC) skirmish, Toner maintained, “We (US) have high-level engagement, as you can imagine, with both governments, and our assessment is based on that.”
He said, “ It’s not for me to confirm it happened. It’s for the governments themselves to speak to their roles.”
“We’re very concerned about the situation there. We don’t want to see it escalate any further. And as part of that concern, the Secretary is certainly engaged and talking to Indian leadership – senior Indian leadership.”
Since Pakistan and India are both nuclear-armed countries, Toner said,”I would just say nuclear-capable states have a very clear responsibility to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities.”