WASHINGTON - Amid heightening tensions along the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region, the United States has said that it wants to see dialogue and discussions between India and Pakistan to improve cooperation and bring peace in South Asia.
“We continue to want to see dialogue and discussion between India and Pakistan to improve cooperation, to improve communication, and improve shared efforts against a common threat,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the daily press briefing on Wednesday.
“We have talked about the threat of extremism there in the region. It affects everybody on both sides,” he said in response to a question from a correspondent of a Pakistani television channel.
Kirby also said that a US travel advisory issued last month cautioning against travel to Pakistan was a routine update to an earlier warning and wasn’t based on any specific credible threat.
"It (travel advisory) was a routine update to a warning. And it wasn’t meant nor is any travel warning meant to discourage people from actually traveling or doing legitimate business. That’s not the purpose of it at all," Kirby said.
He confirmed that Pakistani authorities did raise the issue of travel advisory with the US officials in Islamabad recently, such discussions are welcomed.
The spokesman said that travel warnings were not indicative of bilateral relations with any country, and were simply the government’s commitment to provide up-to-date, as possible, information to US citizens that are traveling or residing abroad. He said such warnings are routinely updated, roughly, after every six months.
“And it wasn’t meant, nor is any travel warning meant, to discourage people from actually traveling or doing legitimate business. That’s not the purpose of it at all,” he added.
Replying to another question, he said the decision to travel to Pakistan were for the American businessmen and women to make, and that any warning were just the government’s obligation to its citizens to keep them up to date.
But, “it’s really important for you and for people in Pakistan to understand what a travel warning is. It is simply providing, in this case, a routine update of general information so that they can make informed decisions about traveling,” he said, while pointing out that Pakistan was not the only country in the world which has existing travel warnings.