India Launches Preemptive Strikes into Pakistan
India’s military began launching cross-border strikes into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday, Feb. 26. This comes after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised a strong response after 40 were killed in a suicide bombing on Feb. 14 by terrorists of the group Jaish-e Mohammed. Modi claimed that the strikes destroyed one of the group’s major camps in the region while others were also targeted.
As strikes continued the next day, an Indian MiG-21 jet was shot down and the pilot was captured by Pakistani forces but was returned to India on Friday, March 1. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the return of the pilot was “a goodwill gesture aimed at de-escalating rising tensions.” Since the strikes on Tuesday, the conflict has significantly de-escalated.
Trump, US delegation Leave Vietnam Without an Agreement
This week in Hanoi, President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un held their second summit on North Korea’s nuclear program. The first summit, held last June in Singapore, concluded with a jointly-signed statement committing both countries to a more stable relationship, but this week’s meeting ended after only a few hours with both leaders blaming the other for the lack of progress.
Trump described Kim’s demands by saying that “they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that … We had to walk away from that.” However, a State Department official later partially confirmed claims by North Korean officials that Kim only asked for the partial lifting of sanctions in exchange for the shutting down of North Korea’s main nuclear facility. Trump also said that the next meeting between the two leaders “may not be for a long time.”
Iran Foreign Minister Tries to Resign, Blocked by President
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attempted to resign unexpectedly on Monday, Feb. 25, a move that surprised many among the Iranian government. Zarif, a fundamental player in negotiating the Iran Nuclear Deal, attempted to resign through an Instagram post, citing his personal shortcomings as the primary reason.
This announcement threw the Iranian political apparatus into a tailspin; speculation regarding other high-level departures led to the resignation being rejected by the President of Iran, President Hassan Rouhani. In a letter released to the public, Rouhani described the move as “against national interests” and therefore refused to allow the tendered resignation to go into effect.