Washington, DC – The United States is watching the ongoing tense situation on the border between nuclear powered neighbors Pakistan and India since the recent terrorist attack that occurred on an Indian Central Reserve Police Force convoy in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
In a statement from the Pentagon, the US Department of Defense said, “Acting Secretary Shanahan has been in contact with Secretary Pompeo, Ambassador Bolton, Chairman Dunford, ADM Davidson, and General Votel regarding India-Pakistan tensions. Stressing the US efforts to tone down the war-mongering rhetorics and scale back on military actions, the statement said, “Acting Secretary Shanahan’s focus is on de-escalating tensions and urging both of the nations to avoid further military action.”
The US top diplomat also expressed concern regarding India-Pakistan tensions disclosing his telephonic conversations with his counterparts in both the countries. “Following Indian counter-terrorism actions on February 26, I spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs Swaraj to emphasize our close security partnership and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region,” said Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State.
Pompeo added, “I also spoke to Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi to underscore the priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action, and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil.”
The US top diplomat said he expressed to both, “Ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost. I also encouraged both Ministers to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity.”
The chronology of events, however suggest that both the Indian and Pakistani sides have kept their political diatribes on high decibel levels along with both the air powers getting engaging in tit-for-tat.
In the latest turn of events, India demanded the release of a fighter pilot shot down by Pakistan warplanes in a major escalation as a video released by Pakistan’s information ministry showed an Indian pilot – blindfolded and with blood on his face. Pakistan’s military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said the pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan, was being “treated as per norms of military ethics”.
The incident, in which Pakistan said it had shot down two military jets, came after India claimed it had struck what it described as a militant camp in Pakistan in retaliation for a suicide bombing that killed at least 40 Indian troops in Kashmir.
The blast took place on the heavily guarded Srinagar-Jammu highway about 12 miles from the main city of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. The highway had been closed due to snow and bad weather for a week, according to reports.
The lethal attack, once again raised tensions between two nuclear powered neighbors India and Pakistan. The two have fought two wars and several limited conflicts across their borders.