Following Thursday’s suicide car attack on Indian forces in Kashmir, the Trump Administration has told the Indian government that they fully defend India’s right to “defend itself against cross-border attacks.”
This is potentially a very dangerous position, as the group that took credit for the attack, JeM, is based in Pakistan, and India’s threats to retaliate against them are already focused on strikes within Pakistan.
Historically the US has tread cautiously on anything that might lead to an overt India-Pakistan War, and certainly would never want to be seen egging one on. John Bolton also promised India support at the UN in moving against Pakistan “to hold Pakistan to account.”
While the US hasn’t been on the best of terms with Pakistan recently, this threatens to make relations a lot worse, and quickly. It is also likely to fuel allegations of a double-standard, after a similar-sized suicide bombing by the Jaish al-Adl in Iran earlier the same week.
Both the India and Iran bombings were carried out by Islamist factions based in Pakistan, but not only did the US not endorse Iran’s right to retaliate against the group in their case, it would’ve been unthinkable to imagine them doing so.
Pakistan has condemned both attacks and denied any involvement in either. Though a lot of militant groups are based in Pakistan, only a handful are officially aligned with the government, and most are semi-hostile to Pakistani security forces, even if their interests generally lie abroad.
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