The Donald Trump administration on Thursday blamed Pakistan for worsening Indo-Pak ties and warned that the ties may worsen further if another high-profile terrorist attack emanates from across the border this year.
“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 Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence.
Coats said that the relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated following two major terrorist attacks in 2016 by terrorists crossing into India from Pakistan. “They may deteriorate further in 2017, especially in the event of another high-profile terrorist attack in India that New Delhi attributes to originating in or receiving assistance from Pakistan,” Coats added.
Backing India’s pre-condition for bilateral talks on Islamabad stopping support to cross-border terrorism, Coats said, “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.”
In January 2016, heavily-armed terrorists sneaked in from across the border and attacked the Pathankot air base on the intervening night of January 1-2. The attack had claimed the lives of seven security personnel while four terrorists were killed.
Coats said that Pakistan is concerned about its international isolation due to its dwindling position against India’s rising international status. In turn, Pakistan is likely to reach out to China to offset its isolation.
There have been a series of ceasefire violation along the Line of Control by Pakistan in which many soldiers and civilians lost their lives. On May 1, Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) mutilated the bodies of two Indian soldiers, Prem Sagar of 200th Battalion of the BSF and Naib Subedar Paramjeet Singh of 22 Sikh Regiment of the army in Krishna Ghati sector along the Line of Control, where they had beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj in 2013.
In one of the deadliest attacks on security forces, terrorists killed 19 Army soldiers in a suicide attack on an Army camp in Kashmir. Four terrorists struck the camp close to the headquarter of the 12th Brigade at Uri in Baramulla District.