A fortnight after the audacious air strike on one of the biggest Pakistan-based terror camps, the US joined hands with India to intensify diplomatic pressure on Pakistan by jointly asking the latter to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on its soil.
In the first diplomatic visit from India to the US after the Pulwama carnage perpetrated by Pakistan-based Jaish e-Mohammad, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale held wide-ranging talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington DC, which focused on keeping the pressure on Islamabad to end cross-border terror and to punish the perpetrators of the Pulwama terror attack.
“Secretary Pompeo expressed his understanding of India’s concerns regarding cross-border terrorism,” said the Indian embassy in a statement.
“They agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory. They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable,” said the statement.
The India-US statement came days after Pakistan claimed to have taken action against some militant outfits in response to growing international pressure. “It’s a clear message to Pakistan by the US and India that Pakistan needs to move beyond just cosmetic measures and take credible and verifiable action against the terror infrastructure,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India and World magazine and India Writes Network.
“The February 26 air strike on Balakot, JeM’s biggest terrorist facility, has already underscored a paradigm shift in India’s strategy of dealing with Pakistan-sponsored terrorism,” he said.
“This time round, India is signalling that it will use all methods, including military, diplomatic and economic, to make it extremely costly for Pakistan to continue sponsoring cross-border terror,” he said.
In this regard, the reiteration of support by the US, the only country that defended India’s right to self-defence in the wake of the Pulwama attack, is crucial as Washington has enormous leverage over Pakistan’s deep state, including the military and ISI.
The visit by India’s foreign secretary to the US is well-timed as it is happening on the eve of a renewed move at the United Nations Security Council, led by the US, UK and France, to designate Masood Azhar, the chief of JeM and prime suspect in the Pulwama attack, as a global terrorist. The latest initiative to blacklist Azhar enjoys the support of all UNSC members, except China. A day before the March 13 deadline for the renewed proposal to proscribe Azhar in the UNSC 1267 sanctions committee, China has called for a “responsible approach” and stressed that a solution can be found only through “responsible discussions.”
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