“India took the action it thought was necessary to defend itself, which we understand,” Ambassador Verma toldThe Hindu in his first interview since India launched strikes on ‘terror launch pads’ along the LoC after the terror attack on an Army camp in Uri, in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed.
In a rare admission that the U.S. had spoken to the Pakistani leadership about the use of “proxies” as terror groups, Mr. Verma also said it was important to “stand in solidarity with India on that front.” When asked why the strong words by the U.S. don’t see an impact on the ground, especially on the subject of groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Ambassador Verma revealed that since 2011, U.S. military aid to Pakistan had dwindled 73 per cent over differences with the Pakistan government’s action on terror, indicating the recent hold on F-16 sales as well as $300 million withheld by the Pentagon.
Mr. Verma said he was “optimistic”, but wouldn’t commit to a timeline on when India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group would come through, nor did he respond on whether President Obama would engage the Chinese leadership directly to discuss its opposition. “We are engaged with every member of the NSG on India’s candidacy. There is a lot of support for India’s candidacy, let’s not get ahead of the process,” he added.