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US ‘very encouraged’ by Indo-Pak PMs’ meeting: Blake

November 15
02:36 2011

WASHINGTON: Stating that it is “very encouraged” by the recent positive meeting between Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, the US has contended that improvement in relationship between the two neighbors enhances prospects for regional integration of South Asia.

“The recent progress between India and Pakistan has been so important, not only to reduce tensions between those two important countries, but also to enhance prospects for regional integration,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, told a news conference here.

Blake had led a US delegation to the 17th SAARC Summit in Maldives on November 10-11. The US has been an observer at SAARC since 2007.

“The warming between India and Pakistan, in fact, began at last year’s SAARC summit that was held in Bhutan,” Blake noted.

This year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani met again and “reaffirmed that there’s now a new chapter in their relations as a result of Pakistan’s decision to grant Most Favored Nation status to India,” he said, appreciating the improvement in talks between the two neighbors.

The US is “very encouraged” by the very positive meeting that took place between the two Prime Ministers, Blake said.

“They reaffirmed Pakistan’s decision to grant MFN status to India, which is a very important step forward.”

Referring to the ongoing meeting between the two Commerce Secretaries in Delhi, he hoped that there will be continued progress. “I have every reason to believe there will (be progress). And I think that, again, there’s been very good progress across a whole range of fronts between the two countries over the last year, and we very much welcome that.” -PTI

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