The Trump administration is urging Islamabad to take "credible steps" to dismantle terrorist groups operating from its ground, a leading US diplomat said, describing Islamabad's recent counter-terrorism measures, such as the persecution and sentencing of the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa , Hafiz Saeed as "important but not irreversible".
In a virtual discussion organized by the Atlantic Council, Alice Wells, outgoing Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, said the US is encouraging practical steps that India and Pakistan can take to alleviate bilateral tensions.
She said Pakistan's recent counter-terrorism efforts are important but not irreversible.
"I am not taking these steps irreversibly, but they are important steps. Whether it is the persecution and conviction of (JuD boss) Hafiz Saeed, the seizure of assets, certainly what we saw in the documentation, better documentation of the Business and we need to maintain that focus and work with our international partners, "said Ms. Wells at the Washington DC-based think tank on Wednesday.
Ms. Wells took part in the discussion with Richard Verma, the former U.S. ambassador to India, and said that the Trump administration continued to encourage practical steps for India and Pakistan to ease tensions.
"We definitely support practical steps India and Pakistan can take to alleviate tensions, such as the 2003 ceasefire restoration, and of course continue to urge Pakistan to take credible steps to dismantle terrorist groups," she said.
The Indian government, led by late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, signed a ceasefire agreement with Pakistan along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir on November 26, 2003.
The Indo-Pak hyphenation can only be found in history books, she said.
She noted that the United States regards Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country of 200 million people, as an important partner, and said the Trump administration is not blind to the cross-cutting issue of terrorism.
"The government has a very strong stance on terrorism. Its principled approach to fighting non-state actors and the presence of non-state actors has also been a blessing for our broader global engagement and certainly for our engagement in India," she said.
The United States has continually urged Pakistan to end its support and safe haven for all terrorist groups operating on the ground, the sole aim of which is to sow chaos, violence and terror in the region into terrorist safe havens in the country.
Ms. Wells said that the international community's response to the Pulwama terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir by the Pakistani-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has really turned the warning shot on the bug.
After the Pulwama attack in February 2019, Pakistan was under strong pressure worldwide to curb terrorist outfits operating from its ground.
At least 40 CRPF employees were killed in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a JeM suicide bomber rammed a vehicle with over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in the Pulwama district.
"There was an escalation period. It was very worrying for everyone. But India was not criticized for its response. And it was not criticized by Pakistan's main allies or partners or friends because there was deep concern about the country's fact that a non-state actor was allowed to work in a way that was destabilizing for global security, "she said.
Earlier, she told reporters during a conference call that President Donald Trump's suspension of security aid in 2018 was a fundamental change in the country's approach to Pakistan.
"The South Asia strategy has made it clear that Pakistan must act decisively against these (terror) groups, particularly those who support the conflict in Afghanistan and threaten regional stability," said Ms. Wells.
Since then, the United States has seen some steps by Pakistan to encourage the Taliban to advance the Afghan peace process, Ms. Wells said.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)