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Trump urges Pakistan to ease tensions with India: White House

Agency News

Washington, Aug 17: US President Donald Trump has spoken with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan over telephone and discuss the importance of easing tensions with India, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said late on Friday.

"The President conveyed the importance of India and Pakistan reducing tensions through bilateral dialogue regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir," Gidley said in a statement. The two leaders also discussed steps for building the bilateral relationship between the United States and Pakistan, Gidley said.

The discussion between the two leaders over phone comes at a time when the matter of Kashmir was being discussed after more than 40 years, in United Nations Security Council's closed door consultative meeting. Only one of the five permanent members, China, openly favoured Pakistan in the UNSC meet. The remaining four — Britain, France, Russia and the United States — want India and Pakistan to address the Kashmir dispute in a bilateral set-up.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Mr Khan took the US President into confidence regarding the UN Security Council meeting today in which Kashmir issue was discussed. "The conversation between the two leaders was held in a cordial environment. They also agreed to remain in contact over the Kashmir issue", Radio Pakistan quoted Qureshi as saying.

On August 5, India had revoked the controversial Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Terming the Article 370 a 'major hurdle' in the development of the state, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said politics of vote bank has looted the youth of Jammu and Kashmir for over 70 years and this article is equally harmful for people of all religions.

He also said that only because of Article 370, democracy never took root in J&K, corruption flourished, widespread poverty took root and no socio-economic infrastructure could come up. "It is the root cause of terrorism." he added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has been continuously accusing India for resorting to unconstitutional measures in dealing with Kashmir. It has already snapped its diplomatic ties and bilateral trade with India. UNI