US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed with British NSA Mark Sedwill the current situation between India and Pakistan and the efforts to reduce tensions between the two South Asian neighbours, the State Department has said. Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14. Pompeo and Sedwill reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the US-UK special relationship and cooperation in the face of major global challenges, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said Friday.
According to the State Department, the talk was reflective of the fact that the United States continues to engage its resources to reduce the tensions between the two nuclear countries.
"Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo met with UK National Security Advisor Mark Sedwill today to discuss key global priorities, including support for reducing tension between India and Pakistan, securing progress in Syria, and countering Iran's malign influence," Palladino said in a statement.
India launched a counter-terror operation in Balakot. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured its pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.
The US, the UK, and France, the three-permanent veto-wielding members of the 15-nation United Nations Security Council, last month moved a fresh proposal in the UNSC to designate JeM's chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
Earlier, the US reduced the visa duration for Pakistani citizens from a period of five years to three months and increased the cost of visa application $160 to $192, a spokesperson of the US embassy in Pakistan said. This comes about after the Pakistan government had decided to decrease the visa duration and increase the application fee for US citizens.
Apart from civilians, the new visa policy will also be applicable to Pakistani journalists. The scribes will be issued visas for three months, ARY News reported quoting the US embassy spokesperson. The decision was taken by the State Department “because Pakistan was unable to liberalise its visa regime for certain visa categories, [hence] the United States was required by US law on January 21 to reduce the visa validity and increase the visa fees to match Pakistan’s practices for similar visa categories.”