US Still Apprehensive About Potential Conflict Between India and Pakistan

The US still remains apprehensive possible India-Pakistan conflict as the defence forces of both the nuclear-armed neighbours remain on high alert nearly three weeks after their most dangerous confrontation in decades, said a senior US administration official.

The crisis erupted with a February 14 suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir in Pulwama that killed 40 CRFP troopers – an attack claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed group.

On February 26, India launched airstrikes on an alleged militant training camp in Pakistan. The following day, Pakistani aircraft retaliated against India, triggering a dogfight.

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In their first such clash since a 1971 war, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected. After severe international pressure and possible war-like scenario, the pilot was safely handed back to India almost within 48 hours of his capture.

The Trump administration, backed by other powers, pressed the sides to avert further violence amid fears of an all-out war that could go nuclear. While the sides have taken steps to de-escalate tensions, including Pakistan’s return of the Indian pilot, the US official said that Washington remains concerned.

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“We do still see the militaries on alert and so we realize if there, God forbid, would be another terrorist attack, then you could quickly see an escalation in the situation once again,” the official said.

“We are making clear that any additional military action by either side runs an unacceptably high risk for both countries and for the region,” Pakistan says it arrested dozens of extremists and seized their assets. But the official indicated that Washington does not believe the crackdown has been sufficient.

“I think we will need to see irreversible sustained action. It’s early to make a full assessment,” the official added.

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