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US steps up efforts to reduce tensions between India-Pakistan

Trump administration is willing to encourage a rapprochement between Islamabad and New Delhi

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Reuters

The US is quietly nudging and to re-engage as the seeks to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours, according to a media report today.

America's objective to normalise ties between the two South Asian rivals is part of its efforts to have a more focused approach on the Afghan endgame.

US Secretary of State took up the issue with the leadership of both and during his recent visit to the two countries, the Express Tribune quoting government officials and diplomatic sources as saying.

"Behind the scenes, efforts appear to have started paying dividends since Tillerson's visit, as there has been a noticeable reduction in violence along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region," the paper said.

The border between the two nations has been the scene of bloody clashes between the armies of and for the last couple of years. The current year has been the worst in terms of ceasefire violations as well as civilian casualties.

Officials with the knowledge of the backdoor manoeuvres confirmed to the paper that the wanted to see a lowering of tensions between the two neighbours.

A senior official, who requested not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said Tillerson had informed that the was willing to encourage a rapprochement between and New Delhi.

The surprise decision by to allow a meeting between convicted Indian and his wife was also being linked to the quiet efforts by the US. Pakistan, however, publically insisted that the offer was made purely on the humanitarian grounds.

The former Indian Navy officer was sentenced to death after a Field Court Martial on charges of espionage and involvement in terrorist activities.

Officials are reluctant to link Pakistans decision on Jadhav as well as the brief lull in LoC clashes to the US intervention.

They said it was too early to draw any such conclusions as the was still struggling to come up with a workable roadmap for Afghanistan and South Asia.

The official, nevertheless, made it clear that continued tensions between and would certainly undermine US efforts to bring some semblance of peace in Afghanistan.

Historically, has not been averse to third- party intervention, but has publically opposed such approaches.

The official said the Pakistani side had urged the US to use its influence over for the resumption of dialogue after a number of terror attacks in

It is, however, not clear if the two sides would resume the full spectrum of talks, considering the timing.

Since is also just a few months away from parliamentary elections, it is highly unlikely that structured dialogue would be restored. However, political leaders and officials may interact with each other as a result of US efforts in order to arrest any further slide in ties between and India, the report said.

First Published: Mon, November 13 2017. 14:37 IST