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Pakistan Has Assured the US It Will Deal 'Firmly' With Terrorists: John Bolton

"The [Pakistani] FM assured me that Pakistan would deal firmly with all terrorists and will continue steps to de-escalate tensions with India," tweeted the US national security advisor.

New Delhi: Pakistan has assured the United States that it will deal firmly with all terrorists and take steps to de-escalate tensions with India, a top White House official said on Monday.

This assurance was given by Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a call with the US national security adviser, John Bolton, the latter said in a tweet.

“Spoke with Pakistani FM Qureshi to encourage meaningful steps against JeM and other terrorist groups operating from Pakistan,” Bolton said.

“The FM assured me that Pakistan would deal firmly with all terrorists and will continue steps to de-escalate tensions with India,” tweeted the US national security advisor.

The Pakistani readout of the conversation, posted by the foreign ministry, omitted Bolton’s reference to Islamabad having to take action against terrorism. Instead, it said that Bolton “concurred” with the Pakistani foreign minister when he “cautioned against any Indian misadventure, keeping in view the forthcoming elections”.

Bolton’s call with Qureshi came during the ongoing US visit of the Indian foreign secretary, Vijay Gokhale. On the first day of his official visit, the top Indian diplomat met US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

The United States continued to maintain pressure on Pakistan, according to a readout of the meeting issued by the State Department.

“Secretary Pompeo and foreign secretary Gokhale discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the (Pulwama) attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil,” State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said.

Also read: Will India’s ‘New Normal’ Action Against Pakistan Pay Dividends?

Pompeo affirmed that the United States stands with the people and government of India in the fight against terrorism, he said.

“They noted the strength of our partnership and discussed ways to further enhance cooperation, including on counterterrorism,” Palladino said.

Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.

The Indian Air Force then carried out a counter-terror operation, reportedly hitting a JeM madrasa in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan, on February 26.

The next day, the Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an Indian pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.

(With PTI inputs)

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