The U.S. empathises with India’s position that it needs to militarily respond to cross-border terrorism. But given the history of wars between Indian and Pakistan and the heavily militarised character of the region, both sides must show restraint and caution, a senior White House official said on Wednesday.
In the clearest indication till date of the Obama administration’s support for India’s pre-emptive military operation targeting terrorist positions across the LoC recently, Peter Lavoy, Senior Director for South Asia at the National Security Council said: “It [Uri] was a clear case of cross-border terrorism. We condemn this act of terrorism. It was a horrific attack. Every country has a right to self-defence. But in a heavily militarised relationship that has also experienced three wars, there is indeed a need for caution and restraint. We share with India, the concern…. for preventing any future attack. We empathise with the Indian position that it needs to respond militarily to cross border threat of terrorism. But we also advise caution.”
Mr. Lavoy said the Obama administration was making all efforts to ensure that India joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) before the end of the year.
The U.S and India had “significantly increased” mutual interaction on Afghanistan, the official said. “Our commander in Afghanistan travels to New Delhi regularly for consultations. India and the U.S have reconvened the trilateral meeting along with Afghanistan recently in New York,” he said.
Mr. Lavoy was interacting with the audience at the Centre of Strategic and Interaction Studies after the release of a report on the agenda for India-U.S. relations for the next U.S. President. Richard M. Rossow, Senior Fellow and Wadhwani Chair at the CSIS, moderated the interaction.
The personal leadership of the next U.S. President would have an impact on the India-U.S relationship, Mr. Lavoy said. “We have created the foundation… for the partnership. That is reliable and will serve the administration very well. But every significant global relationship needs leadership. It will be critically important that the next President provides the same kind of leadership that President Obama provided for India-U.S relations,” Mr. Lavoy said.