Donald Trump Promises ‘Reasonably Attractive’ News on Indo-Pak Escalation

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has been engaged with leaders and top brass in India, Pakistan and the US since the capture of the IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.

New Delhi: On Thursday, US President Donald Trump indicated that the US has been “involved” in managing the escalating tension between India and Pakistan, and that “reasonably decent” and “reasonably attractive has been received” that the current face-off “will be coming to an end”.

Trump was addressing a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, after his summit with Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea.

“Hopefully it’s going to be coming to an end,” President Trump add. “[It’s been] going on for a long time, decades and decades.”

Since Wednesday afternoon, the centrepiece of the India-Pakistan confrontation has been the Indian fighter pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was shot down over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and taken into captivity.

The Indian government demanded his “immediate and safe return”, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

A statement from the US Department of Defense on Wednesday said that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was focused “on de-escalating tensions and urging both of the nations to avoid further military action.”

According to Washington, DC-based news site The Hill, Shanahan has been in touch  with senior US security leaders – including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top brass –“regarding India-Pakistan tensions.”

Also on Wednesday, the US pressed Pakistan to abide by its commitments to the UN Security Council, and act against terrorists operating from the country. This was after India handed to Pakistan a dossier on the involvement of the Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) in the Pulwama terror attack on February 14, 2019, and on the presence of JeM camps on Pakistani soil.

“The US calls on India and Pakistan to cease all cross-border military activity and for a return to stability”, a US spokesperson said. “We urge both sides to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation, including through direct communication. Further military activity will exacerbate the situation.”