Trump administration intervention may have led to Pakistan’s release of Indian Air Force officer

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February 22 protest by Indian-Americans held outside Pakistan’s Consulate in New York. (Photo: Peter Ferreira/Parikh Worldwide Media)

President Donald Trump announced impending good news in the ongoing heightening tensions between India and Pakistan, in tandem with Islamabad’s announcement it was returning a captured Air Force officer to New Delhi.

“We have, I think, reasonably attractive news from Pakistan and India,” President Trump announced at the start of his press briefing prior to his return from Vietnam from the second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“They’ve been going at it, and we’ve been involved in trying to have them stop,” Trump said referring to India and Pakistan.  “And we have some reasonably decent news.  I think, hopefully, that’s going to be coming to an end,” the President added.

While several nations have been involved behind the scenes in bringing about a negotiated end to the military exchanges between India and Pakistan, Washington may have played a major role going by President Trump’s statement, in the freeing of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistan Feb. 27, when his plane went down on the border.

“It’s been going on for a long time — decades and decades.  There’s a lot of dislike, unfortunately.  So we’ve been in the middle, trying to help them both out and see if we can get some organization and some peace.  And I think, probably, that’s going to be happening,” said President Trump.

Meanwhile, social media American experts have been opining on the unfolding drama in the South Asian Subcontinent, and whether the capture of Wing Commander Varthaman took the wind out of India’s sails.

“Don’t agree with view that recent events make India look “weak.” Airstrike was a more robust response to the Pulwama attack than anyone anticipated. What the US & int’l community has & hasn’t said speaks volumes about India’s support. And Pakistan’s clearly trying to de-escalate,” tweeted Jeff Smith, research fellow, South Asia, at The Heritage Foundation. “Lecturing India on how to defend it’s national security is counterproductive,” Smith cautioned in another tweet, adding, “Do I hope Delhi shows restraint? Yes. Even moreso, I hope the world recognizes if it wants restraint from India it needs a more credible plan for dismantling terror factories. Or we’ll be back here soon.”

Bill Roggio, a former U.S. Army officer and currently managing editor of The Long War Journal, had this to say on Twitter: “Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is absolutely correct when he says “All wars are miscalculated, and no one knows where they lead to.” And this is why Pakistan should dismantle every terrorist group in the country. They can spark an unforseen war.”

Christine Fair, professor at Georgetown University, was quick on Twitter to detail the evolving situation on the Subcontinent:

“South Asia Newbies
1. India attacked a terror camp in response to to (sic) an attack by that group
2. Pak escalated by targeting IN military bases
3. India has a right to defend itself, seek justice, compel Pak to stop
4. Want Peace? Tell Pak to STOP, return the Wing CMDR NOW” Fair tweeted the morning of Feb. 27.

“”Neutral” should never mean turn a blind eye to UN-designated terrorist groups living openly in Pakistan, causing this regional (in)stability in the first place,” asserted Alyssa Ayres of the influential U.S. think tank, Council on Foreign Relations. She was responding to an article in U.K.’s The Guardian’ entitled, “Who will pull India and Pakistan back from the edge this time?”

Some experts felt President Trump’s summit with the North Korean was less important than the South Asian confrontation in Jammu & Kashmir.

“What’s happening between India and Pakistan right now seems more important than anything happening at the Vietnam summit,” said Ben Pershing. editor at the National Journal.

After Prime Minister Khan announced the release of the Indian Air Force officer, Alyssa Ayres, former State Department official and currently …., praised the step. “Good news, good confidence-building step.”

 

 

 

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