Situation between India, Pakistan "very, very bad": US President Trump
Days after he called the Pulwama attack a "horrible situation", US President Donald Trump, on Friday, made more comprehensive comments about the attack and the US' stance on it. Calling the situation between India and Pakistan "very, very bad", President Trump said that he would understand if India opted for a strong response against Pakistan. Here are the details.
We want to see hostilities stop: President Trump
Responding to reporters' questions about the attack, President Trump said that while ties between India and Pakistan had hit a new low, the US was in contact with both countries and was trying to de-escalate the situation. "A lot of people were just killed. We want to see it [hostilities] just stop. We are very much involved in that [process]," he told reporters.
What President Trump said on the possibility of strong response
Further, the President also spoke about the possibility of a strong response from India in the wake of the attack. Commenting on the same, he said, "India is looking at something very strong. India just lost almost 50 people in the attack. I can understand that too". However, he reiterated that a peaceful solution was the best option.
A lot of people are talking to India and Pakistan
"We're talking. A lot of people are. It's going to be a very, very delicate balance. There is a lot of problems between India and Pakistan because of what just happened," said President Trump.
What the President had to say on US-Pakistan ties
He then went on to comment on the US' relationship with Pakistan, saying that the US would set up meetings with Islamabad to improve ties. President Trump added that Pakistan had taken undue advantage of several US Presidents for years, and that he had put a stop to it by withdrawing $1.3bn in aid to Pakistan.
Stopped aid to Pakistan as they weren't helping: President Trump
"I stopped paying Pakistan the $1.3bn that we used to pay them. In the meantime, we may set up some meetings with Pakistan...I ended that payment, because they were not helping us in the way they should have," said the President.
The international community at large has condemned the attack
President Trump's comments come at a time when India has gone on a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan, and is trying to isolate Islamabad diplomatically. Further, led by the US, the international community, including the United Nations (UN), has condemned the Pulwama attack in the strongest terms, and has also urged Pakistan to stop providing a safe haven to terror groups on its home soil.
Pakistan could also be blacklisted by the FATF
Meanwhile, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body fighting against terror financing, has kept Pakistan on its 'grey list', despite India's push to downgrade Islamabad. However, if Pakistan does not take satisfactory steps to curb terror financing by October 2019, it will be blacklisted.
Backstory: The Pulwama attack had left over 40 jawans martyred
On February 14, a CRPF convoy heading towards Srinagar came under attack in the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Despite the highway being well-guarded, an SUV laden with 350kg of explosives managed to ram into the convoy, triggering a massive blast. The blast reduced one bus to smithereens, and left several vehicles in the convoy severely damaged. Over 40 jawans were martyred, and Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility.