New York: US Representative and Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Eliot L. Engel, on Monday told Pakistan to first take "concrete and irreversible steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure" on its soil to hold "meaningful" dialogue with India.
Engel made the statement while speaking to the Ambassador of India to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, shortly after US President Donald Trump expressed his desire to mediate the "issue of Kashmir" between the two South Asian neighbours on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's request -- a statement which has been refuted by India since.
"Chairman Engel reiterated his support for the longstanding US position on the Kashmir dispute, saying he supported dialogue between India and Pakistan, but reaffirmed that the dialogue's pace and scope can only be determined by India and Pakistan."
"He reaffirmed that in order for dialogue to be meaningful, Pakistan must first take concrete and irreversible steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on Pakistan's soil," an official statement read.
Trump's comments have since been dismissed by all quarters, including India, which stated that no request as such was made by Prime Minister Modi.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that "all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally," adding that any engagement with Islamabad would require an end to cross-border terrorism.
"The Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally," Kumar added. The US President made the comments during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on Monday.