Washington: The Trump administration on Tuesday called on Pakistan and China to “uphold their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe havens and support for terrorists,” even as President Trump described the Pulwama attack + as a “horrible situation” and said “it would be wonderful if they (India and Pakistan) get along.”
The US formulation about denying safe havens and support to terrorists expressed through the state department was addressed to “all countries,” but it was clearly directed at Islamabad and Beijing since Pakistan is host to UN-designated terrorists and China has repeatedly aided Pakistan avoid global censure on this matter using its veto.
Last week, the White House + said it “supported India’s right to self-defense against cross-border terrorism” following the Pulwama attack that killed 44 Indian soldiers in a suicide bombing that was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish e Mohammed. The support, expressed by US National Security Advisor John Bolton in telephone conversations with his Indian counterpart , appeared to green light any punitive action India is likely to take following the terror attack.
The “terrorist attack against Indian paramilitary police is a despicable act of violence, however, I know it will not weaken the resolve of the Indian people,” said Senator Thom Tillis, a member of the Senate India Caucus.
Pakistan hosts and protects Jaish’s terrorist leader Masood Azhar and China helps its ally by thwarting UN efforts to designate him a global terrorist, ostensibly to protect Beijing’s economic investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and prevent greater extremist activity in Muslim-heavy Xinjiang province, but also to harass New Delhi.
The is expected to issue a more elaborate statement on the matter soon.
That (the terrorist attack) was a horrible situation…I have watched… I have got a lot of reports on it. We will have a comment at an appropriate time. It would be wonderful if they (India and Pakistan) get along,” President Trump said in a brief response in the White House when asked about the attack.
The rising tension on the subcontinent has barely registered with the foreign policy community in Washington and the administration itself (except for regional experts) with its familiar focus on North Korea, China, and the Middle East, combined with newer crises in the American neighborhood, including in Venezuela.
With White House and State Department briefings a rarity these days, it has been almost a week since the Pulwama attack that Foggy Bottom formally placed on record “not only our condolences but our strong support” to India. “We urge Pakistan to fully cooperate with the investigation into the attack and to punish anyone responsible,” the Department’s Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said on Tuesday.
“As you know, we have a close, cooperative relationship with India, a security relationship, and that includes counterterrorism operations. And so we’re committed to working with India, the Indian government, and on these counterterrorism efforts, both bilaterally and multilaterally, including at the United Nations,” Palladino added.
In New York, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said she met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to brief him about latest developments and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and “asked him to play a role in helping to deescalate tensions.”
In response, the Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said “The Secretary General stresses the importance for both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps to de-escalation, and his good offices are always available should both sides ask.”
Pakistan keeps going to the United Nations for mediation despite the country being censured by it for hosting terrorists and terror groups, with the organisation assigning terrorist designation to Pakistan-based terror groups and individuals.
“Looking at the situation in general between India and Pakistan, we are deeply concerned at the increasing tensions between the two countries in the wake of the attack on Indian security personnel on February 14 in Pulwama,” Dujarric added.
Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani partisans are duking it out on social media, using everything from photos and videos Saudi Prince Salman’s visit to the two countries to cricket memes to needle each other. Pakistanis gloated over the fact that Salman did not directly condemn the Pulwama attack in Delhi and Indians mocked Pakistani subservience to Saudi overlordship.
Not all Pakistanis – or Indians for that matter – were smitten with the Saudi prince and his visit.