Pakistan’s foreign ministry has summoned the United States embassy’s deputy chief of mission to express concern over a statement last week by US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that called on Pakistan to ensure its territory was not used as a base for attacks by armed groups.
The US-India statement was released after a meeting between Biden and Modi at the White House on Friday and received criticism from Pakistan, which called it contrary to diplomatic norms.
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“It was stressed that the United States should refrain from issuing statements that may be construed as an encouragement of India’s baseless and politically motivated narrative against Pakistan,” Pakistan’s foreign office said in a statement on Monday.
“It was also emphasised that counterterrorism cooperation between Pakistan and the US had been progressing well and that an enabling environment, centred around trust and understanding, was imperative to further solidifying Pakistan-US ties.”
US State Department spokesperson Matt Miller told reporters in a daily news briefing that Pakistan had taken important steps to counter armed groups, but said Washington advocated for more to be done.
“At the same time, however, we have also been consistent on the importance of Pakistan continuing to take steps to permanently dismantle all terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT] and Jaish-e-Mohammad [Jaish-e-Muhammad or JeM], and their various front organisations and we will raise the issue regularly with Pakistani officials,” he said.
LeT is the group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which more than 160 people were killed, while JeM claimed responsibility for a 2019 bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed 40 Indian paramilitary personnel.
Relations between India and Pakistan have been fraught for years. Since independence from Britain in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of them over the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.
Pakistan’s army on Saturday claimed two civilians were killed by Indian forces in firing across the Line of Control, the de facto border in Kashmir, the first such conflict since a ceasefire in 2021 between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours.
India says Pakistan helps armed groups battling Indian security forces in its part of Kashmir since the late 1980s. Pakistan denies the accusation and says it only provides diplomatic and moral support for Kashmiris seeking self-determination.