This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
U.S. President Donald Trump has called the standoff between Pakistan and India a “very dangerous situation” and warned that New Delhi is considering “something very strong” after an attack on its forces in the disputed region of Kashmir.
“It’s very dangerous situation between the two countries. We would like to see it stop,” Trump said on February 22.
“Right now, there is a lot of problems between India and Pakistan because of what happened,” he told reporters in the Oval Office.
“India is looking at something very strong. India just lost almost 50 people with an attack. So I can understand that also,” he added.
India has blamed Pakistan for a February 14 attack in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed more than 40 soldiers, and it has warned its neighbor of a “jaw-breaking response.”
Islamabad has denied any involvement and warned New Delhi against any “misadventure,” vowing to retaliate if it comes under attack.
The attack on Indian troops was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM) militant group.
The Indian Foreign Ministry accused the Pakistani government of providing the militant group with a safe haven and allowing its leader, Masood Azhar, “to operate and expand his terror infrastructure in territories under the control of Pakistan and to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity.”
India has long accused Pakistan of supporting militants in Muslim-majority Kashmir, which is divided between the two nuclear archrivals but claimed in full by both since independence from British colonial rule in 1947. The two neighbors have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan territory.
Washington in recent years has made a bid to improve ties with New Delhi, seeing India has an ally in the fight against Islamic militants.
Trump has also accused Islamabad of providing a safe haven for terror groups based in Pakistan and with not doing enough to stop them from conducting attacks across the border, including in Afghanistan against U.S. and Afghan troops.
The U.S. administration in 2018 slashed its military aid to Pakistan, saying that Islamabad had not done enough to fight extremists.
Still, in his remarks on February 22, Trump said the United States has developed a “much better” relationship with Pakistan in the “last short period of time” and that he might set up meetings with Islamabad over the current situation.