US backs India’s right to launch strikes against terrorist havens in Pakistan

Strong condemnation by the Trump administration and U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle of the horrific terrorist attack in Kashmir that killed at least over forty Indian military police, was fast and furious, with senior administration and Congressional sources also disclosing that the U.S. has essentially given India the green light to carry out surgical strikes against terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, particularly the bases of the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lakshar-e-Tayiba terrorist groups that exclusively target India, reports here say.

As per reports, the U.S. indicating to India that it would have no qualms against New Delhi going after these groups — including those on the U.S.’s Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list — was indeed a far cry from earlier times when Washington would call for restraint when tensions between India and Pakistan would exacerbate in the wake of terrorist attacks by Pakistan-based, armed militant groups. JEM has claimed responsibility for the latest attack, the worst in more than three decades.

The sources also pointed out that the Pulwama attack had taken place hardly a week after the chief of the U.S. Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel informed the Senate Armed Services Committee that militants continuing to operate out of Pakistani territory undermines regional stability and exacerbates tensions with India.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton spoke to his Indian counterpart promising support to bring those responsible for a deadly car bombing in disputed Kashmir to justice, the Indian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, has claimed responsibility for the attack on a military convoy in which 44 paramilitary police were killed, raising tensions with India.

Bolton told Ajit Doval in a telephone conversation that the United States supported India’s right to self-defense against cross-border terrorism, the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

India has demanded Pakistan act against the Jaish. Pakistan had condemned the attack but denied any complicity.

“The two NSAs vowed to work together to ensure that Pakistan cease to be a safe haven for JeM and terrorist groups that target India, the U.S. and others in the region,” the ministry said. “They resolved to hold Pakistan to account for its obligations under U.N. resolutions.”

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