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Amid F-16 strain, US talks of India-Pakistan dialogue

DNA logo DNA 28-09-2022 dnawebdesk@gmail.com (DNA Web Desk)
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said his country stands for India and Pakistan resolving their difference through dialogue. The remark comes amid verbal exchanges between India and US over the latter's decision to spruce up Pakistan's F-16 jets with technical updates.

While India sees the move against its strategic interests, claiming the jets may be used against it, the United States claims the grant of upgrades was to bolster Pakistan's fight against terrorism. 

Earlier this week, referring to the United States' explanation for selling the upgrades to Pakistan, Union Minister for External Affairs, S Jaishankar said "you are not fooling anyone". 

The Biden administration was asked if it was in discussion with Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto to improve ties with India. Blinken said, "We always encourage our friends to resolve their differences through diplomacy, through dialogue. That hasn't changed. It won't change." 

Blinken met with India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Washington. Blinken held separate talks with his counterpart from Pakistan.

On Monday, he said had a discussion with Bhutto over managing a responsible relationship with India. 

"In our discussions today, we talked about the importance of managing a responsible relationship with India," Blinken said after meeting Zardari, without elaborating.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier this week that "the relationship we have with India stands on its own; the relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own".

Blinken added, "The partnership between India and US is simply one of the most consequential in the world. It is to address any global challenge that our people face - health security, climate change, food security and upholding the free and open international order. Over the past years, we have made real progress in elevating that partnership bilaterally -- through institutions like QUAD and G20 and international organisations at the United Nations". 

The bilateral formal talks between India and Pakistan have completely stalled due to the country's support for cross-border terrorism. While Pakistan demands talks, India says dialogue isn't possible until the country seizes exporting terrorism. 

With inputs from ANI

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