At Kerry-Sharif meeting, US urged Pakistan to cooperate in Uri attack probe
The United States has urged Pakistan to cooperate in the investigation into the terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp at Uri in Kashmir on Sunday, suggesting by implication that it can help.
A state department spokesman said on Wednesday that secretary of state John Kerry and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “discussed the incident” at their meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Sunday. “The secretary urged Pakistani cooperation in the investigation (at that meeting),” the spokesman said.
The US also offered India assistance in the investigation, which was conveyed when deputy secretary of state Anthony Blinken made a phone call to foreign secretary S Jaishankar.
India has said the attack, in which 18 soldiers were killed, was carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed. New Delhi had also blamed the terror group for the attack on the Pathankot airbase in January.
A source said while the US had strongly condemned the attack in Pathankot, as it has now, it had not followed up by asking Pakistan to cooperate in the investigation.
“Implied here in the present instance is a suggestion of a certain leverage Islamabad has with these groups,” the source said, pointing to a similar call from the US after the 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Asked who the US believed was behind the Uri attack, the state department spokesman said, “We are still awaiting further information. We have offered our assistance to the government of India, and we also urge Pakistan to cooperate in the ongoing investigation.”
In its first response to the Uri attack, the US had said it “strongly” condemned it, and it was “committed to our strong partnership with the Indian government to combat terrorism”. There was no reference to Pakistan, which, many experts here with experience of the region, said looked clearly implicated.
The state department spokesman went on to reiterate the “clear and longstanding” US view that Pakistan needs to “take steps against externally focused militants… including against groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed”.
The spokesman also addressed the question of US policy on Kashmir, saying, “The US position on Kashmir has not changed. It is an issue for India and Pakistan to resolve.
“The pace, scope, and character of any discussions on Kashmir is for the two sides to determine, but we support any and all positive steps India and Pakistan can take to forge closer relations.
“India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation, and we encourage them to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions.”
There were reports in the Pakistan media that Sharif had urged Kerry at their Sunday meeting for US intervention to resolve the Kashmir issue.