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India should have no trouble explaining strikes to US: Experts

If India had to explain its surgical strikes across the Line of Control, it should have no trouble getting the United States on board in the least as it has been carrying out similar operations deep inside Pakistan for years now.

India's Pakistan offensive Updated: Sep 30, 2016 01:32 IST
If India had to explain its surgical strikes across the Line of Control, it should have no trouble getting the United States on board, say experts.
If India had to explain its surgical strikes across the Line of Control, it should have no trouble getting the United States on board, say experts.(Gurinder Osan/HT File Photo)

If India had to explain its surgical strikes across the Line of Control, it should have no trouble getting the United States on board in the least as it has been carrying out similar operations deep inside Pakistan for years now.

“India can note that the United States has been carrying out attacks in Pakistan for over a decade to kill terrorists, including Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mansour (the Afghan Taliban chief),” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA operative who was once adviser to President Barack Obama on Pakistan and Afghanistan, told Hindustan Times.

US Navy SEALs found and killed bin Laden in a hideout in Abbottabad, a military town not very far from Islamabad in 2011. Pakistan was angry, but helpless to do anything.

And Mullah Mansour was killed in a drone strike in Balochistan, the restive southwestern province on Pakistan, in 2016 as were scores of other terrorists, including Ilyas Kashmiri in 2013, in a similar fashion. Islamabad has tacitly cooperated in these strikes.

American experts unanimously agreed that India had shown considerable restraint in the past.

Read | How world powers reacted to Indian Army’s strikes across LoC

“For years, Pakistan has refused to crack down on anti-India militant groups on its soil, despite repeated requests from India,” said Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert with Wilson Center, a think tank. “And meanwhile, through this all, India has practiced nothing but restraint.

“I doubt you’ll hear much condemnation of these attacks around from the world, and certainly not from the United States, except for the usual suspects in China and perhaps a few other places.”

Alyssa Ayres, a former state department official and South Asia expert with the Council on Foreign Relations, seemed somewhat impressed. “What precisely took place across the LoC seems unclear, but what is new is India’s willingness to declare that something, however limited, took place.”

Both Ayres and Kugelman pointed out, however, there will be concerns about an escalation of tensions and conflict between two nuclear-powered neighbours, specially on account of Pakistan.

“I do think the world will continue to be concerned about prospects for escalation due to the wildly irresponsible threats of nuclear weapons use the Pakistani defense minister made yesterday,” said Ayres.