US remains concerned about tensions between Pakistan, India: official

US official says any military action by either side runs an unacceptably high risk for both countries


Reuters March 21, 2019
US official says any military action by either side runs an unacceptably high risk for both countries. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: The United States remains concerned about Pak-India tensions as the nuclear-armed countries’ militaries remain on alert nearly three weeks after their most dangerous confrontation in decades, said a senior US administration official.

Pak-India confrontation will have 'serious implications for regional peace': China

The crisis erupted with a February 14 suicide bombing on Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) that killed 40 paramilitary officers and was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed group.

On February 26, India claimed to have launched airstrikes on an alleged militant training camp in Pakistan. The following day, Pakistani aircraft retaliated against targets inside IoK, triggering a dogfight.

In their first such clash since a 1971 war, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected.

The Trump administration, backed by other powers, pressed the sides to avert further violence amid fears of an all-out war that could go nuclear.

While the sides have taken steps to de-escalate tensions, including Pakistan’s return of the Indian pilot, the US official said that Washington remains concerned.

“We do still see the militaries on alert and so we realize if there, God forbid, would be another terrorist attack, then you could quickly see [an] escalation in the situation once again,” the official said.

“We are making clear that any additional military action by either side runs an unacceptably high risk for both countries and for the region.”

Here's a look at how the militaries of India and Pakistan stack up

Pakistan says it arrested dozens of extremists and seized their assets. But the official indicated that Washington does not believe the crackdown has been sufficient.

“I think we will need to see irreversible sustained action. It’s early to make a full assessment,” the official added.

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