Deadlock between U.S. and Pakistan continues
Indian Defence News: Statements on giving India a bigger role in Afghanistan have rankled the military
New Delhi: The diplomatic impasse between the United States and Pakistan continues after U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy review of South Asia. Since then, several high-level bilateral meetings have been rescheduled indefinitely. Pakistan’s National Assembly had on Thursday passed a unanimous resolution rejecting statements made by Mr. Trump and top U.S. commander General John Nicholson.
The India connection
Pakistan has also condemned attempts by the Trump Administration to provide more space to India in Afghanistan, considering it a move highly detrimental to regional stability.
The alleged presence of the Haqqani network and Taliban Shura in Quetta and Peshawar are the core issues of dispute.
However, more than that, the Trump Administration’s suggestion to provide more space to India in Afghanistan has made Pakistan’s national security apparatus, dominated by the powerful military, fume.
Pakistani civil and military leadership have both repeatedly asked the U.S. to acknowledge Islamabad’s sacrifice in the war on terror. Pakistan also denies the presence of leaders belonging to the Haqqani network on its soil.
Interestingly, the Dawn leaks controversy that put the powerful military in a confrontation with civilian leadership last year was based on a report which claimed that the government had been telling the military to stop giving support to militant groups.
However, all said, Pakistan has always been dependent on the U.S., both for aid and for military supplies. With both gone now, Pakistan is looking towards China and Russia.
Officials also fear an eventual decision by the U.S. to end Pakistan’s non-NATO ally status and more sanctions. “U.S. will go to every extent to scapegoat Pakistan for its Afghanistan failure. With someone as unpredictable as Trump, the government believes that there is no hope for a thaw in relations soon,” a senior government official said.
However, Pakistani officials also believe that despite the tirade by Mr Trump, the government will come back to request Pakistan for assistance. Several U.S. Presidents have in the past accused Pakistan of playing the double game when it comes to Taliban but eventually have had to seek assistance from Pakistan for any Taliban-related initiative.
Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had hinted at this last week when he expressed the desire to further work with Pakistan to defeat terrorists. “We intend to work with Pakistan in order to take the terrorists down. I think that’s what a responsible nation does,” he had said during a news briefing at Pentagon.
News Source: The Hindu