WASHINGTON DC: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday described the Pulwama terrorist attack, in which 40 Indian paramilitary personnel were killed, as a “horrible situation” and said it would be “wonderful” if the two South Asian neighbours “get along”.
“I have watched. I have got a lot of reports on it. We will have a comment (on it) at an appropriate time. It would be wonderful if they (India and Pakistan) get along,” Trump said in response to a question.
The American president made these comments while addressing the media during an Oval Office signing ceremony on Tuesday.
The United States threw its support behind India on Tuesday and urged Islamabad to punish those behind the February 14 suicide attack in occupied Kashmir.
“We have been in close communication with the government of India to express not only our condolences but our strong support for India as it confronts this terrorism,” said US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino.
“We urge Pakistan to fully cooperate with the investigation into the attack and to punish anyone responsible,” he added, noting that Washington had also been in contact with Islamabad over the attack.
A day after the deadly car bombing the United States voiced support for India’s right to self-defence against cross-border attacks.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on February 15, promising to help bring those behind the attack to justice, the Indian foreign ministry said in a readout of the phone call.
The ministry said the two NSAs vowed to work together against all regional and global threats, and “resolved to hold Pakistan to account for its obligations under UN resolutions”.
On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Zahid Nasrullah said peace talks between the United States and Afghan Taliban would be affected if India resorted to violence against Pakistan.
Taliban representatives are due to meet US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar on February 25 in the next round of talks to end America’s longest war.
PM IMRAN’S SPEECH:
The US State Department’s comments come a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan – in an address to the nation on Tuesday – offered India an olive branch and said Islamabad was willing to act upon ‘actionable intelligence’.
Reiterating his resolve for a peaceful neighbourhood, the premier said Islamabad had nothing to gain from the attack and would act against any individual who used Pakistani soil to plan or execute the attack.
“I would like to make the Indian government an offer, If you have actionable evidence, share it with us. We will take action. Not because we are under pressure, but because it is our policy,” he said.
He reminded his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Pakistan has borne the brunt of global terrorism and the country has sacrificed more than 70,000 lives in order to achieve the peace and has been at the forefront of the global war on terror.
“Pakistan is a country that has suffered the most from terrorism, and we are willing to have a dialogue with India to eradicate terrorism in the region.”