Ban offers support for resumption of India-Pakistan talks

United Nations, Jan 16 (IANS) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the resumption of India-Pakistan diplomacy and offered his support for holding talks.

Asked by a reporter Friday about the on-again, off-again interactions between the two South Asian neighbors, Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, “Advice of the secretary general would always be for ‘on’ in order to support the talks.”

“Obviously, there are circumstances that are involved,” Dujarric said, “but he has been supportive of the dialogue between the leaders of Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues.”

Talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries were scheduled to take place Friday, but were put off to “the very near future,” according to Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup. Foreign secretaries S. Jaishankar of India and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry of Pakistan spoke by phone Thursday about resecheduling the talks.

The talks, planned after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reset diplomacy following meetings with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Paris and in Lahore, hung in the balance after a terrorist attack on an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on January 2.

On Wednesday, Pakistan announced a crackdown on Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation suspected of being behind the attack.

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