WASHINGTON: Applauding the constructive approach shown by Pakistan and India at a meeting between their prime ministers in Maldives on Thursday, the United States has said cooperation between the two regional powers would be a win-win for the entire region.
State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said Washington backs constructive dialogue between the two South Asian nuclear neighbors and cooperative ties between them would benefit the region.
“We’ve said many, many, many times from this podium that we support constructive dialogue between the two countries,” Toner stated, when asked about US reaction to the meeting between Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh held in the Maldives, where both attended SAARC annual summit.
“It is to the benefit of the region that these two countries cooperate more closely, both in the economic front but as well as on other issues.
And we see this as a win-win for the region,” the spokesman said of the cooperative potential between the two largest South Asian economies.
The bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit emanated a message of peace and cooperation in the region, which, in the past, often witnessed lingering sharp differences on peace and security issues that sometimes spiralled into conflicts.
Ahead of the SAARC summit, Islamabad made a big peace overture by deciding to grant Most Favored Nation (MFN) trade status to India, a move the US has hailed as the most concrete and tangible step yet taken by the two sides towards improvement in their relationship.
The United States and China are attending the meeting of leaders of eight member countries in Addu, Maldives, as observers. Since the start of Afghan conflict in 2001 Washington has maintained a high-stakes engagement in the region, particularly with Pakistan and India.