FEBRUARY 23, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – US President Donald Trump voiced alarm Friday at the “very dangerous situation” between India and Pakistan, warning that New Delhi was considering “very strong” action after an attack in Kashmir.
“It’s very dangerous situation between the two countries. We would like to see it stop,” Trump said, adding that the United States was seeking talks with Pakistan.
“Right now there is a lot of problems between India and Pakistan because of what happened,” he told reporters as he met a senior Chinese official in the Oval Office.
Tensions have soared between the nuclear-armed rivals since a suicide attack last week killed 41 soldiers in Kashmir, the deadliest attack in years.
“India is looking at something very strong. India just lost almost 50 people with an attack. So I can understand that also,” Trump said.
India has been demanding action against militants from Pakistan, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi under pressure from the public to show firmness weeks before he is set to call elections.
The attack was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed, an Islamist extremist group based in Pakistan, although the suicide attacker came locally from Kashmir.
Pakistan’s military on Friday warned India against any “misadventure,” saying it was capable of responding.
The United States in recent years has allied with India, seeing common interests with a fellow democracy that has been battling Islamist extremists.
The Trump administration last year cut off $300 million in military aid to Pakistan, saying that Islamabad has not done enough to fight extremists at home or close safe havens for militants in neighboring Afghanistan.
“Pakistan was taking very strong advantage of the United States under other presidents,” Trump said. “I ended that payment because they weren’t helping us in a way that they should have.”
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three full-fledged wars over Kashmir since their partition at independence from Britain in 1947.