WASHINGTON: The US today said it strongly "encouraged" India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue to reduce tensions, as the war of words between the two neighbors escalated over the Kashmir issue.
"The United States strongly supports all efforts between India and Pakistan that can contribute to a more stable, democratic, and prosperous region, including meetings between the Indian and Pakistani officials," a senior State Department official said after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address in Kerala.
"Our longstanding position is that we believe India and Pakistan stand to benefit from the normalisation of relations and practical cooperation. We encourage India and Pakistan to continue to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions," the official said.
Diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan have been rising since the September 18 terror attack on an army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 18 Indian soldiers.
Modi had launched a blistering attack on Pakistan yesterday in his first public address after last Sunday's deadly attack.
Modi said the sacrifice of the 18 soldiers will not go in vain while all out efforts will be made to isolate Pakistan globally.
Pakistan has rejected allegations of its involvement in the assault with both countries hitting out at each other including at the current UN General Assembly session.
Responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's "tirade" in his UNGA speech in which he had focused elaborately on Kashmir, India had slammed Pakistan for being home to the "Ivy League of terrorism" and a "terrorist state" that commits "war crimes" by using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.