ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Monday told the United States that dialogue with India was the only option for regional peace.

In a meeting with the US National Security Adviser Lt General H R McMaster here, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan was convinced that all issues with India could be resolved through talks.

Sharif reiterated his firm conviction on sustained dialogue and meaningful engagement “as the only way forward to resolve all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan including the Kashmir dispute,” said a statement released by the PM’s office after the meeting.

Pakistan-India relations have been far from normal in the recent months.

In July a Kashmiri freedom fighter – Burhan Wani - was killed by the Indian forces.

This was followed by protests in held Kashmir and use of power by India to crush the demonstrators – dozens were killed.

In September, 19 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack in Uri, held Kashmir.

India blamed Pakistan for supporting the attackers.

Pakistan rejected the claim.

Afterwards, there were skirmishes on the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary as India showed aggression.

The tension is yet to cool down.

PM Sharif told General McMaster that Pakistan welcomed US President Donald Trump’s willingness to help Pakistan and India resolve their differences particularly on Kashmir.

He said that Pakistan was looking forward to forging a strong and mutually-beneficial partnership with the US to promote peace and security in the region and beyond.

Sharif reaffirmed his commitment to a peaceful neighbourhood and apprised the US National Security Advisor of the steps taken by Pakistan to reach out to both India and Afghanistan.

He conveyed Pakistan’s readiness to work with the international community to explore ways in which the Afghan crisis can be resolved.

The prime minister also said that across-the-board consensus was achieved by his government to combat extremism and terrorism.

He said that structural reforms in the economy had laid the foundation of a moderate, progressive and democratic Islamic republic that was ready to do business with the United States and the world at large.

General McMaster assured the prime minister that the new administration was committed to strengthening bilateral relations and working with Pakistan, to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the wider south Asian region.

Effective Afghan border management key to peace: Aziz

Later, General McMaster met Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

The adviser was assisted by the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi, National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the meeting, Aziz noted that Pakistan and the US had been close friends over decades and that a continued strong partnership between the two countries remained critical to promoting and sustaining peace and stability in the wider region.

He gave a briefing on the policies being pursued by the government that resulted in improved security environment and economic turnaround in Pakistan, the foreign ministry said in a post-meeting statement.

On terrorism, the adviser noted that impressive gains had been made in eliminating terrorists and that Pakistan remained determined to continue this fight as part of the National Action Plan (NAP) until the scourge of terrorism was completely eliminated from its soil.

He said that the government was determined to maintain the existing momentum on both the security and economic fronts to lead the people of Pakistan towards a prosperous and secure future.

Conveying Pakistan’s concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, the adviser reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to work with the international community to support efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

The adviser also highlighted the importance of effective border management as part of the actions required to achieve sustainable peace in the region.

The Pakistan side also shared its perspective on the plight of Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir and the status of relations with India.

The adviser apprised the visiting delegation of the steps taken by Pakistan to reach out to both India and Afghanistan.

General McMaster acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices in combating extremism and terrorism, said the statement.

He renewed the commitment of the new administration to work closely with Pakistan in strengthening mutually-beneficial relations and towards the shared objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

General McMaster was assisted in the meeting by US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale, Acting US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Laurel Miller, Senior Director for South Asia Lisa Curtis and Director Pakistan Jay Wise in the National Security Council.

The US embassy, in its statement, said General McMaster departed Pakistan after productive meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua.

General McMaster expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s democratic and economic development, and stressed the need to confront terrorism in all its forms, said the embassy.

“The two sides discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues. This was General McMaster’s first visit to Pakistan in his role as national security advisor. The visit was a part of regional consultations that included a stop in Kabul,” the statement added.

the international community to support efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

The adviser also highlighted the importance of effective border management as part of the actions required to achieve sustainable peace in the region.

The Pakistan side also shared its perspective on the plight of Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir and the status of relations with India.

The adviser apprised the visiting delegation of the steps taken by Pakistan to reach out to both India and Afghanistan.

General McMaster acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices in combating extremism and terrorism, said the statement.

He renewed the commitment of the new administration to work closely with Pakistan in strengthening mutually-beneficial relations and towards the shared objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

General McMaster was assisted in the meeting by US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale, Acting US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Laurel Miller, Senior Director for South Asia Lisa Curtis and Director Pakistan Jay Wise in the National Security Council.

The US embassy, in its statement, said General McMaster departed Pakistan after productive meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua.

General McMaster expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s democratic and economic development, and stressed the need to confront terrorism in all its forms, said the embassy.

“The two sides discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues. This was General McMaster’s first visit to Pakistan in his role as national security advisor. The visit was a part of regional consultations that included a stop in Kabul,” the statement added.