WASHINGTON The United States on Thursday signalled its preference for a wide-ranging dialogue between India and Pakistan on the pattern the two countries have had in the past, as the South Asian rivals prepared to return to the negotiating table. We have always encouraged dialogue between Pakistan and India. Of course, this is a decision for both countries to make on their own, Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley told reporters. But in our various discussions with leaders from Pakistan and India, we have long encouraged them to resume the kind of dialogue that the two countries have had at various times in the past, Crowley stated in an obvious reference to the comprehensive dialogue the two countries had conducted before the Mumbai attacks derailed the process. India last week offered to resume talks with Pakistan, which responded positively but said that the dialogue between the two neighbours must be comprehensive, not limited to subjects as suggested in statements by some Indian leaders. In his remarks Thursday, Crowley also noted broader importance of peaceful relations between Pakistan and India. These are two very important countries. They are neighbours. They share a number of important interests - fighting terrorism on the one hand, encouraging trade on the other. So, I think if we can - to the degree that India and Pakistan can cooperate - can have peaceful dialogue, can develop opportunities between the countries, that can only help in the broader regional context, including, our joint efforts on security in South Asia, the spokesman said.