US state department spokesperson Ned Price on Tuesday said that Washington sees its relationships with India and Pakistan independently of each other, reported PTI.

Price made the statement a day after India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar questioned the United States’ decision to sell F-16 fighter jet equipment to Pakistan. The $450 million (Rs 35,876 crore) defence deal earlier this month was struck four years after former US President Donald Trump had suspended about $2 billion (Rs 15,940 crore) of security aid to Pakistan.

“For someone to say I am doing this as it is for counter-terrorism when you are talking of an aircraft like capability of F-16...You are not fooling anybody by saying these,” Jaishankar had said, urging the US to reflect on the merit of its partnership with Islamabad. “We think countries make their choices based on their own interest.”

On Tuesday, Price said that the United States sees both India and Pakistan as its partners.

“We do have in many cases shared interests,” he told reporters at his daily press conference. “And the relationship we have with India stands on its own. The relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own.”

The spokesperson said the United States wants to do everything it can to ensure that the relationship between India and Pakistan is as constructive as possible.

In response to another question, Price said it was not in Pakistan’s interest to “see instability and violence in Afghanistan”.

“The support for the people of Afghanistan is something we discuss regularly with our Pakistani partners,” the spokesperson said. “Our efforts to improve the lives and livelihoods and humanitarian conditions of the Afghan people, and to see to it that the Taliban live up to the commitments that they have made.”

He added that Pakistan shares the same commitments on counterterrorism and to Afghanistan citizens just as the Taliban.

“The unwillingness or the inability on the part of the Taliban to live up to these commitments would have significant implications for Pakistan as well,” Price added. “So, for that reason, we do share a number of interests with Pakistan regarding its neighbour.”