WASHINGTON, June 11 (APP): Pakistan and India need to pursue
closer relations on security front to counter threat of terrorism,
a US Statement Department spokesman said, stressing that the United
States need to seek closer ties between both countries.

“There’s no zero-sum game here,” Spokesman Mark Toner told a
regular briefing at the State Department, responding to a question
about the recent remarks by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi he
made during his 3-day visit to Washington this week.

Asked to comment on mention of cross-border terrorism during
his address to the US Congress, the spokesman refused to say what
his intended audience was, but added that there was no zero-sum
game here.

“We need to pursue closer relations with India, with Pakistan,
and they need to also pursue closer relations on the security front, certainly, with each other,” the spokesman said and added that such relationship would benefit all in the face of continuing serious
terrorist threats.

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“We all need to work in a concerted and coordinated fashion
to address it, and we’re trying to do so,” he added.

A day before Mr. Modi was to address the Congress, a
bipartisan group of 18 Congressmen wrote a letter to Speaker Paul
Rayn, urging him to put the issue of severe violence against
Muslims, Christians and Sikhs in India on top of his agenda
during meeting with Prime Minister Modi.

Prime Minister Modi was scheduled to address the joint session
on Wednesday, but a day before the Human Rights Commission of the
US Congress held a hearing to discuss the human rights violation in

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They told the Speaker that religious minorities in India,
including Muslims, continue to live in a climate where known
perpetrators commit violence with impunity, an obvious reference
to activists of ruling BJP who have been involved in such

In the letter, the lawmakers cited several specific examples
of violent attacks that have killed or displaced religious
minorities in India.

Human rights groups in India have investigated and traced
these attacks to specific groups, but a current climate of
impunity exists in India around such attacks and many victims
never receive justice.

The letter to the Speaker came a day after the Human Rights
Commission of the US Congress held a hearing on human rights
violation in India, and expressed their serious concern over the
growing incidents against the country’s religious minorities.