The United States on Wednesday empathised with India’s need to respond to the September 18 Uri attack, and said that every country had the right to defend itself. However, the Barack Obama administration called for “caution and restraint” in the approach, PTI reported.
Peter Lavoy, a senior White House official, said, “We do empathise with India’s perception that they do need to respond militarily.” He was speaking about the surgical strikes the Indian Army said it had carried out across the Line of Control on September 28. Lavoy is the senior director of the South Asia desk of the National Security Council at the White House.
He also mentioned a telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his US counterpart Susun Rice on September 28, during which Rice condemned the attack on the army camp in Kashmir’s Uri that left 19 soldiers dead.
While India believes that Pakistan was involved in the attacks, the Nawaz Sharif government has denied the charges, and called them baseless. The US diplomat said the attack was an act of “cross-border terrorism from Pakistan coming across into Indian territory”.
Lavoy said, “It [Uri] was a clear case of cross-border terrorism... But in a heavily militarised relationship that has also experienced three wars, there is indeed a need for caution and restraint.” He said India and Pakistan have not found a way yet to overcome their “friction-filled relationship”. He added that the US was making every effort to ensure that India becomes a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group by the end of 2016.
Though India has held that it carried out surgical strikes on terror launchpads to thwart infiltration bids, Pakistan has said that New Delhi was trying to rebrand cross-border firing as surgical strikes for media hype.
On Wednesday, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit reiterated Islamabad's stand, and said the country would have "immediately retaliated" if the Indian Army had indeed carried out such military action on its soil, The Times of India reported. Basit said, "No such surgical strikes took place. There was only cross-border firing by Indian troops, in which two Pakistan army soldiers were murdered. Pakistan responded to it immediately and proportionately."