WASHINGTON - The United States has welcomed the decision by Pakistan and India to engage in a "comprehensive" dialogue to sort out all outstanding issues, saying, "It's exactly what we've been strongly trying to encourage" them to do.

"We want to see the discussions continue, so we're encouraged by the recent dialogue between India and Pakistan," State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the daily press briefing on Wednesday.

"It is for India and Pakistan to bilaterally work out the issues between them and to continue to have a dialogue and to discuss and to reach diplomatic solutions to some of the thorny problems which the two countries still face," Kirby said in response to a question.

"We would leave it to those countries to determine who's going to have what meeting and who's going to sit in on what discussion," the spokesman said. Questioned about Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif's recent visit to Washington that came soon after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's trip, Kirby said there was nothing new to it.

"They've been coming to visit counterparts here in the United States for quite some time, as do our military leaders go to Islamabad," the spokesman said, adding, "Our bilateral relations with Pakistan are important."

"I know they're going to continue to be important, not just with the military but with the elected officials as well," he said.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad came days after talks between the National Security Advisers of India and Pakistan in Bangkok.