The White House on Friday again praised India for efforts to defuse tensions in divided Kashmir in a telephone call from US national security advisor Sandy Berger to his Indian counterpart, Brajesh Mishra.
Berger telephoned "to pass on the president's appreciation for Prime Minister (Atal Behari) Vajpayee's efforts over Kashmir, most notably the extension of the Ramadan cease-fire through January," White House spokesman Jake Siewert said.
"They also discussed the efforts by both sides to broaden and deepen the US-India relationship, and expressed the hope the relationship will continue to grow in the years ahead," he told reporters.
President Bill Clinton Wednesday said Pakistan's partial troop withdrawal along the conflicted unofficial border in Kashmir and India's cease-fire "raises the hopes of the world community that peace is possible."
Siewert said a Clinton call was unlikely, "but we obviously have expressed through various channels our appreciation to both sides, their efforts to reduce tension in the region. It's been a bright spot in recent days."
India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir since independence in 1947.
Dialogue between the two countries has been frozen since spring 1999, when a mass incursion by Pakistan-backed forces over the disputed Line of Control in Kashmir triggered a bloody 10-week conflict -- WASHINGTON (AFP)
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