US Senator Kerry urges India, Pakistan to pursue diplomacy

December 17th, 2008 - 5:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 17 (DPA) US Senator John Kerry urged India and Pakistan to keep the diplomatic channels open to counter terrorism and remove misunderstandings that could threaten regional peace, media reports said Wednesday.Kerry, the next chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the remarks Tuesday in Islamabad, where he arrived from New Delhi as part of Washington’s efforts to defuse tensions stemming from last month’s Mumbai terrorist attacks.

India has accused the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant organization of orchestrating the Nov 26 attacks, which killed 173 people.

“It is important for Pakistan and India to talk and use cooperative efforts to eliminate this kind of threat,” the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan news agency quoted Kerry, who ran unsuccessfully for US president in 2004, as saying.

Kerry’s call for continuity in bilateral talks came as India’s Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee announced that there was “a pause” in bilateral dialogue, which would only be restarted when Islamabad took “more decisive action” against the suspects.

Pakistan has offered a joint investigation into the Mumbai attacks and cracked down on an outlawed Islamic charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which was declared a front for LeT by the UN Security Council this month.

“Not all actions taken by Pakistan are known to India,” the Dawn newspaper quoted Kerry as saying. “More people have been detained by the Pakistani authorities than what is known to the Indians.”

Kerry said both the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan had expressed “firm determination” to act against the elements connected to extremism and terrorism.

Tensions have flared between India and Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks, and analysts said they fear any adverse move could push the nuclear-armed countries to the brink of war.

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