US, India to discuss business ties, tension with Pakistan

30 Aug, 2016 12:40 pm

NEW DELHI – US Secretary of State John Kerry and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker began two days of talks on Tuesday with the Indian government to boost business ties, and to encourage dialogue with Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir.

Kerry arrived in New Delhi on Monday night for the annual US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue after a one-day stop in Bangladesh where he discussed increased militant attacks.

The situation in Indian-ruled Kashmir and concerns over Afghanistan will be raised in talks on Tuesday with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, and on Wednesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a senior US official said.

Kashmir is at the center of a decades-old rivalry between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan. Dozens of people have been killed in violent protests in Kashmir since July 8, when Indian forces killed Burhan Wani who enjoyed widespread support in the Muslim-majority region.

New Delhi has rejected Pakistan’s invitation to hold talks on the future of Jammu and Kashmir.

A senior State Department official said Kerry will encourage dialogue between Pakistan and India during the discussions.

“We have a long-standing policy of encouraging and advocating for great dialogue between the two countries on addressing areas of difference, and that continues to be our position,” a senior State Department official said. –Reuters

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