WASHINGTON: State Department spokesman Mark Toner has said that Pakistan was fighting a serious and sustained campaign against violent extremism and is making progress.
Addressing a press briefing on Monday, he said, “We do believe that they (Pakistan) are making progress, that they’re taking steps to counter terrorist violence, but at the same time we’ve been very clear that they need to target all militant groups, including those that target Pakistan’s neighbours and close all safe havens”.
He said that the USA believes India and Pakistan really stand to benefit from the normalisation of relations between them and practical cooperation between them.
“We encourage both India and Pakistan to pursue and engage in direct dialogue that is aimed at reducing tensions”, he added.
To a question regarding recent Pakistan-Russian military exercises, he said that they were not part of ‘great game’.
“we’ve long said with regard to Pakistan, with regard to India, with regard to the region, there’s no zero-sum game here”, he added.
“We are pursuing very close relations with India. We have a deep and broad bilateral relationship and multilateral relationship, but – or work our multilateral issues with India. They are the world’s largest democracy and we share, I think, a very similar vision of the world. And we obviously have very close trade and economic ties with India, and also that extends to security cooperation”.
Toner said that the USA wants to see Pakistan better able to respond to the threat that terrorism poses both domestically for Pakistan but also the fact that there are terrorist groups on – that seek refuge or asylum or shelter in Pakistan’s territory.