Kashmir issue key to better Indo-Pak ties: Sharif

21 October 2015

Stressing on the need to resolve the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in Washington on Tuesday that New Delhi's response to Islamabad's desire for better bilateral ties has been discouraging.

"New Delhi's response to the desire of bilateral ties is discouraging," Geo TV quoted Sharif as saying during his address to the Pakistani community in Washington, soon after arriving in the US on a four-day official visit today.

The Pakistan PM said the Kashmir issue is the bone of contention between the two neighbours and it will have to be resolved for peace and stability in the region.

Earlier in the day, Sharif was received at the Andrews Air Force Base by the Assistant Secretary of State Peter Selfridge and given a Guard of Honour by the United States armed forces.

During the visit, the Pakistan Prime Minister is expected to hold discussions on a wide range of issues of bilateral interest with President Barack Obama on 22  October, Vice President Joe Biden, and various Cabinet members.

Sharif will also interact with members of the US Senate and the House of Representatives as well as senior US Government officials.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the US President hoped to strengthen ties between security forces of both countries to counter extremist forces in that region.

"What the President hopes to do is to strengthen the relationship between the two countries based on our shared interest... in countering extremist forces in that region of the world.

"I am confident that the President will come to his meeting with Prime Minister Sharif with some ideas about what more the Pakistanis could do to strengthen the relationship between our two countries and to advance the security interests of our two countries," he said.

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