The initial war of words and the hawkish talk of an actual war may have given way to more rational responses, but the underlying conflict still remains active. It doesn’t help that the ongoing United Nations session – theoretically a place where such international conflicts can be resolved – has turned into an alternative forum where accusations and threats can be thrown around.

Expecting Pakistan and India to tone down their rhetoric or change their stances in such a charged environment is a fool’s hope, but one does expect the international community to intervene and deescalate the situation – something that it has failed to do so far. In fact, the statements and actions emanating from the United States – a country with ties to both South-Asian nations, and one in the best position to influence the conflict – seem to be fanning the fire rather than dousing it.

A US State Department press release said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Secretary of State John Kerry “stressed the need for restraint in nuclear weapons programmes”; which led to the former stressing emphatically that his country will not accept one-sided restrictions on its nuclear programme. Meanwhile, US Congress members – who for the record have historically pushed Indian stances against Pakistan – chose this moment to move a bill that designates Pakistan as a “terrorist state”.

The objective problems with both these steps should be obvious. A unilateral restriction on one country in what is essentially a bilateral conflict is not only inequitable but also incendiary – it emboldens one party and entrenches the siege mentality in the other. The fact that it is the Indian media that is primarily demanding a war, not Pakistan’s, makes such a move all the more unfair. The Prime Minister is right; any restriction on nuclear arsenals should be mutual – if any.

The US Congress bill is so obviously partisan that it merits little refutation. India has effectively lobbied US lawmakers against Pakistan before, and this bill is no different. It also makes very little sense since the US government still views Pakistan as an “integral ally”, and continues to laud its actions against terrorism – which makes one wonder how it can be a state sponsor of terrorism at the same time.

While this bill will head nowhere in the Congress, it will make provocative headlines and substantiate the warmongering stances of the Indian media – something the US needs to actively curb.

The international community needs to interact with both nations on an equal and conciliatory basis – anything else is severe irresponsibility.