US NSA backs India’s right to self-defence against attacks

The Trump administration on Friday virtually greenlighted punitive Indian measures against Pakistan for the Pulwama terror attack, saying it “supported India’s right to self-defence against cross-border terrorism”.

US national security adviser John Bolton spoke to Indian NSA Ajit Doval twice on phone following the attack to offer condolences and express support, using a phrase that reads like an open-ended term that allows New Delhi to fashion its answer to the Pakistani provocation.

In a statement, Bolton has explicitly called on Pakistan to “crack down” on Jaish-e-Muhammed- the Pak-backed terror outfit that owned up the Pulwama attack- and all terrorists operating from its territory. Bolton said he expressed condolences to Doval for the “reprehensible terrorist attack on India” and added that all countries must uphold the UNSC responsibilities to deny safe haven and support for terrorists.

A coordinated covert operation response, including drone strikes to take out UN-designated terrorists, has long been a desired objective in some quarters, but Washington has been reluctant to sign on to the idea, while signaling it will have no problem if India wants to take such measures.  Read More

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