WASHINGTON - Ahead of next weeks strategic dialogue between the United States and India, a senior American diplomat, while underscoring the importance of the Indo-Pakistan dialogue, has expressed the view that contentious issues like Kashmir should come up only after more vital problems like terrorism and trade are addressed. I think thats not going to be an issue thats going to be addressed right away, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said in response to a question at a special news conference on India Friday. Observers noted Blacks attempt to downgrade the core dispute between India and Pakistan, saying there can be no peace and stability in the sub-continent without a just settlement of the decades old dispute. The US official said, Whats most important is first to get these talks going again and once theyve gotten beyond the immediate counter-terrorism issues, to focus on some of the important opportunities like trade before taking up some of these more sensitive territorial issues. We always have an interest in seeing our two friends have peaceful relations, but we are not pressurising either side, as you say. We have consistently said that it is up to India and Pakistan to determine how to improve their relations and that the pace and the scope and the character of whatever talks they have is really up to those two countries to decide, he added. But we will always stand ready to help in any way that we can, because again, we see it very much in our interest to see improved ties between these two friends of ours. The assistant secretary said the US would like the two countries to develop their ties as they did a few years ago but argued that Pakistan should first stop militants belonging to banned outfits like Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Muhammad from carrying out activities against India.