PHOTO BY: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

President Donald J. Trump, United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, and cabinet members welcome Chinese Vice Premier Liu He Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, to the Oval Office of the White House, following United States–China trade talks in Washington, DC

Washington, DC – US President on Friday (February 22) accepted the ground reality that the recent deadly terror attack in Kashmir has tensed relations between two nuclear powered neighbors in the Indian subcontinent.

President Trump was interacting with journalists before his meeting with the visiting Chinese trade delegation, led by Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House.

Asked to comment on the situation arising out of the lethal attack, President Trump said, “There’s a lot of problems between India and Pakistan because of what just happened in Kashmir,” adding, “It’s a terrible thing going on right now between Pakistan and India. It’s a very, very bad situation, and it’s a very dangerous situation between the two countries.”

At least 40 Indian paramilitary police have been killed in a bomb attack on their convoy in Pulwama when a car filled with explosives allegedly rammed into a bus carrying the troops to Srinagar. Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) said it was behind the deadliest militant attack on Indian forces in Kashmir since the insurgency against Indian rule began in 1989.

On reports that India is seeking its right to self-defense, Trump said, “India is looking at something very strong. And, I mean, India just lost almost 50 people and — with an attack, so I can understand that also.”

Trump, however said he “would like to see it stop,” noting, “A lot of people were just killed and we want to see it stopped. We’re very much involved in that.”

As Indian political leadership announced giving free hand to its military brass to retaliate, Pakistan’s military on Friday cautioned its neighbor against any “misadventure,” saying it was capable of responding.

On the diplomatic efforts to defuse the situation, President Trump said, “We’re talking and a lot of people are talking, but it is a very, very delicate balance going on right now.”

Earlier on the US-Pakistan relations, President Trump said, “We’ve developed a much better relationship with Pakistan over the last short period of time than we had.” He reiterated his resolve and justified his decision to stop “paying Pakistan the $1.3 billion that we were paying them.” Sounding optimistic, Trump looked forward to “set up some meetings with Pakistan,” but felt that Pakistan was taking “very strong advantage of the United States under other Presidents and we were paying Pakistan $1.3 billion a year.”

The Trump administration last year cut off most of its aid to Pakistan. Trump repeated his justification saying, “I ended that payment to Pakistan because they weren’t helping us in a way that they should have.”


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