"It is unfortunate that planned talks between India and Pakistan have fallen through," US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters.
    
"We continue to support efforts by India and Pakistan to improve all aspects of their bilateral relations. And that is a position we will continue making clear to both parties here," she said in response to a question.
    
India called off the talks between Foreign Secretaries of the two countries scheduled to be held in Islamabad on August 25, telling Pakistan bluntly to choose between an Indo-Pak dialogue or hobnobbing with the separatists.
    
India cancelled the talks, raising strong objections to consultations held with separatist Hurriyat leaders by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit.

                                                            HIGHLIGHTS
Pakistan envoy’s invitation to separatists for talks angers India
India bluntly tells Pakistan that it should not interfere in the internal affairs
What matters now is that both countries take steps to improve bilateral ties, says US
We continue to support efforts by India and Pakistan to improve all aspects of their bilateral relations: US
Pakistan described the cancellation of the talks as a ‘setback’ to India-Pakistan ties
Consultations with Kashmiri separatists, saying that it was a ‘long-standing practice’ to hold such meetings prior to bilateral parleys: Pakistan

Pakistan described the cancellation of the talks as a ‘setback’ to India-Pakistan ties and defended its consultations with Kashmiri separatists, saying that it was a ‘long-standing practice’ to hold such meetings prior to bilateral parleys.
    
Harf said, "Irrespective of why either side says the talks were canceled, or why, in fact, they were canceled, what matters now is that both sides take steps to improve their bilateral relations. We've been very clear about that directly in conversations with both."
    
Harf asserted that US policy on Kashmir has not changed.
    
"We continue to believe that the pace and the scope and character of any discussions on Kashmir are for India and Pakistan to determine between them. That hasn't changed and that will remain our position going forward," she said.

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