The United States on Thursday blamed Islamabad’s failure to check support to anti-India elements for deteriorating India-Pakistan relations. “Islamabad’s failure to curb support to anti-India militants and New Delhi’s growing intolerance of this policy, coupled with a perceived lack of progress in Pakistan’s investigations into the January 2016 Pathankot cross-border attack, set the stage for a deterioration of bilateral relations in 2016,” said Director of US National Intelligence Daniel Coats during a Congressional hearing.
The Donald Trump administration also warned that bilateral tensions may further worsen if there was another “high-profile” attack in India from across the border this year. Besides Pathankot, Coats also referred to the attack on the Indian Army base in Kashmir’s Uri sector in September 2016, for which Indian holds Pakistan accountable.
He made the statements while testifying before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Worldwide Threat Assessment.
“Easing of heightened Indo-Pak tension, including negotiations to renew official dialogue, will probably hinge in 2017 on a sharp and sustained reduction of cross-border attacks by terrorist groups based in Pakistan and progress in the Pathankot investigation,” Coats said.
On January 2, 2016, seven security personnel were killed and 37 others were injured after heavily-armed militants had sneaked across the border and attacked the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, Punjab. In the Uri Army base attack on September 18, 2016, 19 soldiers were killed after four militants launched the strike at the fortified complex near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. India has maintained that Pakistan-based groups were behind the strikes, but Islamabad has denied the allegations.
The two “high-profile” attacks, along with Pakistan’s interference in the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir and repeated infiltration attempts and cross-border attacks, have all contributed to worsening ties between the two countries.