SRINAGAR, India (AP) — As India considers its response to the suicide car bombing of a paramilitary convoy in the disputed region of Kashmir that killed dozens of soldiers, a retired military commander who oversaw a much-lauded military strike against neighboring Pakistan in 2016 has urged caution. A local Kashmiri militant rammed an explosive-laden van into a convoy bus on Thursday, killing 41 soldiers and injuring two dozen others in the worst attack against Indian government forces in Kashmir's history. India blamed the attack on Pakistan and promised a "crushing response." New Delhi accuses its archrival of supporting rebels in Kashmir, a charge that Islamabad denies.
NEW DELHI (AP) — With India's general election barely months away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under heavy pressure from his supporters to punish archrival Pakistan for a suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy that killed at least 41 soldiers in disputed Kashmir. India placed the blame for Thursday's bombing squarely on neighboring Pakistan, which India accuses of supporting rebels in Kashmir, a charge that Islamabad denies. A look at some of the retaliatory steps India is likely to consider: ___ DIPLOMATIC ISOLATION India's first public reaction to the attack was to withdraw the most-favored nation trade status given to Pakistan and take all possible diplomatic steps "to ensure the complete isolation from international community of Pakistan." New Delhi insists "incontrovertible evidence is available of (Pakistan) having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident." The Greater Kashmir newspaper reported that the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, headquartered in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that previously unscheduled peace talks between the Taliban and the United States in Pakistan risk engulfing the country in regional rivalries. In an interview with The Associated Press in the capital Kabul, Karzai worried that the accelerated peace process was being hijacked by competing territorial interests in Afghanistan, even as the country's neighbors and powerful Persian Gulf states jockey for influence after U.S. troops are gone. The talks are aimed at finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan's destructive 17-year war — America's longest. Previously scheduled talks are slated for Feb.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani officials said Saturday a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Islamabad has been delayed by a day, a sudden announcement that surprised many Pakistanis, who were preparing to welcome the Saudi delegation amid extraordinary security in the capital. Without giving any explanation, the Foreign Ministry said Prince Mohammad will now arrive in Islamabad on a two-day visit Sunday and that his program remains unchanged. It will be the crown prince's first visit to Pakistan since he was appointed heir to the throne in 2017. The prince was originally scheduled to come to Pakistan later Saturday along with a delegation of businessmen.
BEIJING (AP) — President Donald Trump said that "there's a possibility" he would extend a March 2 deadline in trade talks with China if the two countries are closing in on a deal. Trump made the remarks after two days of high-level negotiations broke up in Beijing Friday, and the two countries announced plans to resume talks next week in Washington. The world's two biggest economies are locked in a dispute over China's aggressive push to challenge American technological dominance. The U.S. is scheduled to hike import taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on March 2. But Trump told reporters that he might extend the deadline "if I see that we're close to a deal or the deal is going in the right direction." He had made similar comments on Tuesday.
MUNICH (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel drew lengthy applause Saturday for her spirited defense of a multilateral approach to global affairs and support for Europe's decision to stand by a nuclear deal with Iran. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was not among the impressed, however, and he doubled down on American criticism of Europe. Merkel's comments at the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of world leaders and top global defense and foreign policy officials, followed days of acrimony between the U.S. and Europe over Iran. Merkel told the group — which included the largest U.S. delegation ever with dozens of members of Congress, Ivanka Trump, Pence and others — that she shared American concerns about many Iranian efforts to increase its power in the region.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has drawn lengthy applause for her spirited defense of a multilateral approach to global affairs and her support for Europe's decision to stand by a nuclear deal with Iran. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was not impressed, however, and he doubled down on American criticism of Europe. Merkel's comments Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of world leaders and top defense and foreign policy officials, followed days of acrimony between the U.S. and Europe over Iran. Merkel told the group that she shared American concerns about Iranian efforts to increase its power. But she defended the nuclear deal as an important channel to Tehran, stressing the need for international diplomacy.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump claimed Friday that Japan's prime minister had nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize for opening a dialogue with North Korea. Trump also complained about President Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize and doubted he would be similarly honored. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe "gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize," Trump said at a White House news conference when asked about his late February summit in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "He said, 'I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite President Donald Trump's tough talk on trade, his administration has granted hundreds of companies permission to import millions of tons of steel made in China, Japan and other countries without paying the hefty tariff he put in place to protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs, according to an Associated Press analysis. The waivers from the import tax show how pliable his protectionist policies can be. Trump has positioned himself as an "America First" trade warrior, using tariffs as a club against countries he's accused of playing unfairly. Although China has been the principal target of Trump's ire, he also has criticized Japan and American allies in Europe.
MOSCOW (AP) — The president of Turkmenistan, a country criticized for allegedly exterminating stray dogs and cats, has ordered the establishment of a national veterinary clinic for domestic animals. The government newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan reported Saturday that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said "this work is necessary for educating the younger generation in the spirit of mercy and humanism." In 2017, activists protested what they described as a brutal campaign to slaughter homeless animals ahead of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which the capital of Ashgabat hosted. A U.S. diplomatic cable leaked in 2010 said Berdymukhamedov once fired an officer after a cat darted in front of his motorcade and an emigre website said a man had been arrested for walking a dog as the presidential car passed by.