WASHINGTON: The Trump administration 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 Donald 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 to avoid global censure on this matter using its veto.
the White House said
+ it “supported India’s right to self-defence against cross-border terrorism” following the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in a suicide bombing claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e- Mohammed. The support, expressed by US national security advisor John Bolton in a telephonic conversation with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, appeared to green light any punitive action India is likely to take following the terror attack.
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 White House 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 neighbourhood, 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.
Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani partisans are duking it out on social media, using everything from photos and videos of Saudi Arabia’s crown 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 crown prince and his visit.
“The Pakistani government calls his visit historic, and Indian officials call it historic. But only people with no sense of history call every passing chariot a historic event. The prince is playing with Pakistan and India because he is being temporarily snubbed by the boys and girls of the West, the ones he really wanted to play with,” the writer Mohammed Hanif noted in a trenchant NYT column that recorded Pakistan’s over-the-top reception of the prince.