India's surgical strikes across the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were carried out in self-defence and would receive support from the US but risk further escalation of tensions, top American experts said.
India’s surgical strikes across the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were carried out in self-defence and would receive support from the US but risk further escalation of tensions, top American experts said on Thursday.
“India can rightly note that the United States has conducted numerous unilateral counter terrorist operations inside Pakistan against targets like Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mansour. India can cite its right to self-defence,” said Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institute.
“The Indian operation ups the stakes. The situation is dangerous and escalating,” Riedel, a former CIA analyst who was stationed at the White House during the time of Kargil war and played a key role in US policies then, told PTI.
“The question is will this escalates further? With or without outside assistance, the Kashmiri situation will get worse for India unless (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi addresses the legitimate demands of Kashmiri Muslims,” Riedel said.
Alyssa Ayres, a former State Department official and currently with the Council on Foreign Relations, hoped that the Obama Administration “sends a firm message” to Islamabad that it “bears responsibility for escalated tensions” by its own refusal to rein in terror groups.
Responding to a question, Ayres said she thinks the US will, as expected, express concern about the possibility of escalation.
“Pakistan’s irresponsible threats about using nuclear weapons yesterday was extremely disturbing especially since they have done nothing in response to the terrorist attack in Uri,” she said.
“It’s clear that the (Narendra) Modi government, having tried sari and shawl diplomacy, then birthday diplomacy, has sent a new signal about their redlines — which have included more diplomatic options considered than we’ve seen in the past,” Ayres said.
Lisa Curtis from The Heritage Foundation said that while the US is concerned about “military escalation between the nuclear–armed rivals”, US officials would find it difficult to criticise India for seeking to prevent future attacks on its territory.
“India’s reported launch of surgical strikes across the LoC against militant infiltrators demonstrates the Modi government’s unwillingness to merely absorb Pakistani provocations,” Curtis said.
The attack on Uri eleven days ago was the second major Pakistani provocation in the space of nine months, she said, adding that the Pathankot attack in early January was bad enough.
“With the Uri attack, Pakistan upped the ante, seeking to draw international attention to Kashmir at a time when civil protests had been wracking the state,” she said. The Pakistan government’s denial of involvement in the September 18 attack is not credible, given that Pakistanis have done little to nothing to shut down terrorist groups operating from their territory, Curtis said.