US calls for de-escalation of India-Pak tension
Sending a strong message to Pakistan that it needs to act against UN-designated terrorist groups, the White House on Friday called for de-escalation of tension between India and Pakistan.
“What I can tell you is that we have seen some reports from the region. Those reports include that Indian and Pakistani militaries have been in communication with one another and we encourage continued discussions between India and Pakistan to avoid escalation,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at his daily news conference.
Earnest said the US National Security Advisor (NSA) Susan Rice had spoken with her Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Thursday and asked to “combat and delegitimise” UN-designated terrorist entities, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
“Ambassador Rice made it clear that the United States continues to be concerned by the danger that cross-border terrorism poses to the region. The United States fully expects that Pakistan will take effective action to combat and delegitimise UN-designated terrorist individuals and entities,” he said.
The US, he said, is firmly committed to its partnership with India, and to their joint efforts to combat terrorism. “We are prepared to deepen collaboration on UN terrorist designations,” Earnest said.
At the same time, the US continues to be in close contact with Pakistan and value the important partnership that they have formed with them on a range of issues, including security, he tary said.
Meanwhile, a State Department official called for de-escalation of tension. “We urge calm and restraint on both sides,” the official said.
“We understand that the Indian and Pakistani militaries have been in communication, and we believe continued communication is important to reduce tensions,” the official added.
The US has repeatedly expressed its concerns regarding the danger that cross-border terrorism poses to the region, including the recent attack in Uri. “We continue to urge actions to combat and delegitimise terrorist groups like LeT, Haqqani Network, and JeM,” the official said.
India has blamed Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM for the attack in Uri. In the backdrop of the heightened tension with Pakistan over the Uri terror attack, India on Tuesday announced its decision to not participate in the SAARC Summit, citing increased “cross-border” attacks.
India wants UN to impose sanctions on JeM chief Masood Azhar. Hafiz Saeed, a co-founder of LeT and the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, carries a bounty of USD 10 million on his head for his role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed.