Washington: The White House on Saturday clarified that the onus is on Pakistan to sustain peace in South Asia by putting the terror groups out of business. This development comes in the wake of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s latest offer of talks with India after the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In yet another letter to Modi, Imran Khan conveyed Pakistan’s intention to hold talks with India to resolve all differences, including on the Kashmir issue. The Pakistani premier reinstated that only talks between the two nations could help solve the problems faced by both the countries including poverty. Khan added that it was important to work together for regional development.

However, India has so far rejected Pakistan’s offer of talks, maintaining that terror and talks cannot go together and said that no bilateral meeting has been planned between the two premiers on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Summit (SCO) in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on June 13-14.

What the United States is really looking for in Pakistan are arrests and prosecutions and not allowing these groups to operate and move around freely, acquire weapons, cross into India, carry out attacks, a senior White House official told PTI this week.

The United States is looking for sustained and irreversible steps that shut down their operations, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Until these groups are put out of business, it’s going to be very difficult for India and Pakistan to achieve sustained peace. So the onus is on Pakistan to ensure that they crack down on these groups, said the White House official responding to a question on the US assessment of the Indo-Pak tension.

A senior State Department official said that in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack, the US has seen Pakistan taking some initial actions against designated terrorist organisations and more steps to enhance counter-terrorism financing measures.

“We welcome those steps,” the official said. “We have always agreed that the underlying causes of the tensions between India and Pakistan needed to be addressed and the underlying tension has been the role of terrorist forces that have sanctuary on Pakistani soil. So we certainly encourage the creation of an environment that will lead to a dialogue.”

(With agency inputs)