ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has asked the United States to help bring India to the dialogue table amid Washington’s calls for talks between the nuclear-armed neighbours, official sources said.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that recent appeals by the US for talks between Pakistan and India were a result of Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts. The officials maintained Pakistan had been pressing Washington to stop India from war-mongering.

Last day, US State Department’s Deputy spokesman Mark Toner said that dialogue between Pakistan and India will help reduce tensions in the region.

He added: “We are working hard to push Pakistan to go after those terrorist groups that seek safe haven on their soil and territory.”

This was part of a series of calls by the US for calm as tension rose to threatening levels between Pakistan and India after the September attack in Uri that killed 19 Indian soldiers.

The tension had been brewing after the killing of freedom fighter Burhan Wani weeks earlier that resulted in unrest in the Held Kashmir. The Indian forces killed dozens of protesters to quell the agitation. Since the partition of British India in 1947 and creation of modern States of Pakistan and India, the two South Asian countries have been involved in four wars, including one undeclared war, and many border skirmishes and military stand-offs.

The Kashmir issue has been the main cause, whether direct or indirect, of all major conflicts between the two countries with the exception of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 where conflict originated due to turmoil in erstwhile East Pakistan - now Bangladesh.

An official at the foreign ministry said Washington had pledged to support Pakistan’s efforts for talks although they seemed suspicious of Pakistan’s anti-terror role.

“Like us they believe talks is the best way out but they still keep on asking us to do more. We have been telling them all these weeks that we had nothing to do with Uri attack or any such incident,” he said.

He said despite its tilt towards India, US was supporting Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace which India was “bent upon disturbing.”

Another official said Washington had asked Pakistan to improve its anti-terror ‘image’ as the US tried to bring India to the dialogue table.

“Washington has told us the whole West and India doubt Pakistan’s credentials on anti-terrorism war. They are convinced regarding our efforts for talks but believe India may be right to doubt us,” he said.

The official said Pakistan had complained to the US that India was avoiding talks despite multiple offers from Pakistan. He said Pakistan did not want the region to be pushed to war.

This week, US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said that if elected, he will like to mediate between Pakistan and India because the region was a “very, very hot tinderbox.” But like the Obama administration, Trump also said that he would only mediate if both countries asked him to do so.

Reports said Pakistani textile sector had been hit badly by the rise in Indo-Pak tensions with most traders not buying cotton from India as a gesture of national solidarity, impacting the $ 822 million cotton industry. The traders across the border, being uncertain of future developments, were not entering into new deals.

Pakistan's Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah said a low quantum of trade activity was still in place. The government has not asked importers to stop buying cotton from India but many of them are not buying on their own as a “gesture of national solidarity.”

Pakistani spinners are the biggest buyers of Indian fibre. Fewer imports by Pakistan this year could hurt Indian exports, raise their prices and help rival cotton exporters like Brazil, the US and some African countries.

Analyst Dr Pervez Iqbal Cheema said US could play its role for peace in the region but had been siding with India in the recent past. “If the US is serious, it can help solve this issue but they are always toeing India’s line over the Kashmir issue. Pakistani diplomats must gear up efforts to win back the US and other influential powers to force India back on the table and save the region from war,” he said.

Cheema said the diplomats had done well in the recent weeks to highlight the Kashmir issue and India’s propaganda.