US Secretary Mike Pompeo intervened to defuse Pak-India tension

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo led the US initiative to de-escalate the tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad last week when he spoke to foreign ministers of India and Pakistan.

On February 27, the Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian aircraft over airspace violation and captured pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was freed on March 01. The announcement to release the pilot by PM Imran Khan came a few hours later after President Donald Trump’s statement that good news coming from the region.

The US State Department Tuesday explained in detail the US efforts to calm down the situation in the South Asian region amid fears of a full blown conflict between nuclear armed rivals.

Robert Palladino, Deputy Spokesperson told journalists that Secretary Pompeo spoke with the Indian Minister of External Affairs Swaraj, National Security Advisor Doval, and Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi.

“The United States continue to urge both sides to continue to take steps to de-escalate the situation, and that includes through direct communication. And we believe strongly that further military activity will exacerbate the situation. So we reiterate our call for Pakistan to abide by its United Nations Security Council commitments to deny terrorists sanctuary and to block their access to funds,” Palladino added

Washington is in continuous contact with both the countries, he said. “Sometimes we do public diplomacy and sometimes there’s a time for private diplomacy, and there’s a lot of private diplomacy that’s going on right now.”

When asked about Pakistan-US F-16 sale agreement and the secret clauses, the spokesperson said “we’re following that issue very closely.”

“I can’t confirm anything, but as a matter of policy, we don’t publicly comment on the contents of bilateral agreements that we have in this regard involving U.S. defense technologies nor the communications that we have with other countries about that.”

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