United States Claims, It Had Played An Essential Role In De-Escalating Tensions Between India And Pakistan


New Delhi: The United States said Tuesday it had played an “essential role” in de-escalating tensions on the sub-continent and that it continues to follow “very closely” reports that Pakistan used American-made military hardware — F-16s and missiles — in a retaliatory strike against India.

Phone calls by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Indian and Pakistani leaders last week “played an essential role in de-escalating tensions between the two sides”, state department spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters in response to a question at the daily briefing.

While in Hanoi, Vietnam for the second US-North Korean summit, Pompeo had spoken to India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and NSA Ajit Doval and Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

These conversations took place after the Indian airstrike against a Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot, Pakistan, and after the Pakistani retaliatory action which resulted in the capture of Indian air force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

It was on the morning after Pompeo’s calls that President Donald Trump had said at a news conference in Hanoi that he had some “reasonably decent” news from India and Pakistan.

He didn’t elaborate, but hours later, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that Pakistan would release Varthaman as a “gesture of peace” to India. Supporters of the prime minister have since said he deserves the Nobel Peace prize for it, unmindful of the international pressure that forced him to it.

The United States was slow to respond to the Pulwama attack — as was widely noted among experts and observers here — as its top officials reached Hanoi for the summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, a key foreign policy initiative of the Trump administration. But it was unequivocal of its support for India from the start and Pakistan’s role in the attack calling upon it to deny safe haven to terrorists in line with its responsibilities as a member of the UN in multiple statements thereafter.

And as India weighed options on who to respond to the terrorists attack, with a military strike among them, American NSA John Bolton announced publicly he had conveyed to his Indian counterpart US acknowledgment of India’s right to self-defense.

The United States, along with other P-5 members France and Britain, pushed the UN Sec

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