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'It would be wonderful if Pakistan, India get along': Trump on Pulwama attack

Updated February 20, 2019

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President Donald Trump pauses during a signing event for "Space Policy Directive 4" in the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday. — AFP
President Donald Trump pauses during a signing event for "Space Policy Directive 4" in the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday. — AFP

United States President Donald Trump has said that his government will comment on last week’s suicide bombing in Pulwama — that killed more than 40 Indian troops — at "an appropriate time".

Trump, while answering a question from the media regarding the attack, said: “I have watched; I have got a lot of reports on it. We will have comment [on it] at an appropriate time. It would be wonderful if they [Pakistan and India] get along."

The president, who made these comments during an Oval Office signing ceremony on Tuesday, called the attack "a horrible situation".

Earlier in the day, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino during a press briefing said the US government was in touch with both the governments regarding the incident.

"We have been in close communication with the government of India to express not only our condolences but our strong support for India as it confronts this terrorism," said Palladino. "We have a close, cooperative relationship with India, a security relationship, and that includes counterterrorism operations."

"As far as Pakistan goes, we’ve been in contact with Pakistan on this issue," Palladino added. "We urge Pakistan to fully cooperate with the investigation into the attack and to punish anyone responsible."

Shortly after the Pulwama attack, the US had singled out Pakistan in its statement condemning the incident.

“The United States calls on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region,” the statement from the White House press secretary’s office had said, adding that "the attack strengthened US resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation with India".

Pakistan and India's relations have been tense since the suicide bombing, with the latter blaming the former of being complicit in the attack — a charge Islamabad has denied from the get-go.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said Islamabad would take action if Delhi shares any actionable evidence concerning last week's suicide bombing.

While offering cooperation and another chance at a dialogue over the Kashmir issue, the premier also warned India against any act of aggression, saying Pakistan will not hesitate in retaliating to a provocation.

India, however, responded to Prime Minister Khan's offer with further vitriol, describing the premier's statement that Pakistan itself has been the biggest victim of terrorism as "far from the truth".

"We are not surprised that the prime minister of Pakistan refuses to acknowledge the attack on our security forces in Pulwama as an act of terrorism. Prime minister of Pakistan has neither chosen to condemn this heinous act nor condoled with the bereaved families," India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had complained.

It is pertinent to mention that the Foreign Office soon after the attack had termed it a matter of grave concern.

According to media reports, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) — which is banned in Pakistan and listed as a terrorist organisation — has claimed responsibility for the attack.

China hopes India, Pakistan can 'exercise restraint' for 'regional peace'

China on Wednesday said that harmony between India and Pakistan is "crucial to regional peace" and hoped that the two neighbours can "exercise restraint".

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang, in a press conference, said: "Pakistan and India are both important countries in South Asia. A stable Pakistan-India relationship is crucial to regional peace, stability and development.

"At present, the situation in South Asia is generally stable, which is hard-won and should be cherished and upheld by relevant parties. China hopes that Pakistan and India can exercise restraint, engage in dialogues and realize an early soft landing of this issue."