Context

  • Striking out at cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, India welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump’s new policy on Afghanistan and consider this move to help target “safe havens” of terrorism in South Asia.

Diplomat’s views on this

  • Senior diplomats said the American leader’s call for an end to Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism in Afghanistan and his support for Afghan-led peace process had addressed a core Indian concern.
  • They also mentioned that Mr. Trump had supported long-held Indian foreign policy principles of non-intervention and non-interference and ended uncertainties regarding the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

Helping Afghanistan

  • Trump pressed India to do more to help Afghanistan with its developmental needs and urged Pakistan to stop terror attacks that originate from its territory.
  • The new U.S. strategy for South Asia, unveiled by President Donald Trump after months of deliberations, contained old elements, but in a departure from the past, it commits troops in Afghanistan for an open-ended period of time.
  • Trump also urged India to play a larger role in providing economic and development assistance to the war-torn Afghanistan.

New wave

  • The policy sets the stage for a new wave of U.S. offensive against Islamist forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • The Pentagon and NATO allies are redrawing their operational plans in America’s longest war that began in 2001, and an increase in troop levels is expected soon.
  • Trump maintained that America would no longer tolerate Pakistan’s policy of harbouring terrorists. “Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror… that will have to change, and that will change immediately,” the President said.

Counter Terrorism efforts

  • Trump also is expected to emphasize the critical need for providing more training and assistance to Afghan’s security forces, particularly given the 16-year conflict no longer is just focused on fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda but on terrorist groups such as ISIS.
  • At the end of the day, this is a war that was needed to be fought for almost 16 years and it seems like nothing has worked for much of those 16 years and this move would help getting rid of terrorism.

The south Asian Strategy

  • As they reviewed their South Asia strategy over the past several months, Trump aides split into two, somewhat overlapping camps on Pakistan.
  • One group pushed measures such as cutting off all U.S. military aid and revoking Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally.
  • The other camp argued for more incremental steps to avoid losing Islamabad’s cooperation entirely and sparking more violence by Pakistan-backed militant groups.
  • S. access to Pakistani transportation corridors need to supply troops in Afghanistan, although the U.S. has developed alternative supply lines over the years.
  • India will be an important partner in the effort to ensure peace and stability in the region, and welcome its role in supporting Afghanistan’s political and economic modernization.

U.S. concerns with Pakistan

  • Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States has showered Pakistan with more than $30 billion in military and economic aid to gain its undivided loyalty in the effort to bring peace to Afghanistan.
  • Militants fighting in Afghanistan can still find safe havens just across the border in Pakistan’s tribal regions.
  • Afghan Taliban leaders, as well as some Al-Qaeda leaders, are believed to operate in Pakistani cities such as Karachi.
  • Pakistan also was where Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden spent his final years until a U.S. raid killed him in the city of Abbottabad in 2011, an episode that deeply soured U.S.-Pakistani relations.
  • S. officials accuse Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence apparatus of retaining ties to Afghan Taliban groups, including the deadly Haqqani network.
  • Analysts say Islamabad believes that by keeping Afghanistan weak and unstable it can use the country as a staging ground in case of a future conflict with New Delhi. Pakistan and India, which also has nuclear weapons, have fought three major wars since 1947.
  • The U.S. has long tried to avoid getting involved in resolving the decades-old Pakistan-India dispute over the Kashmir region and related subjects, and Trump’s speech offered no hint that would change.
  • Trump’s appeal for India to play a greater role in Afghanistan is not likely to play well in Pakistan, which fears the possibility of a future alliance between Afghanistan and India.
  • Pakistan denies double-dealing. It points to its fight against armed groups on its own soil, including what’s known as the Pakistani Taliban, as evidence of its anti-terrorist credentials.
  • Pakistani leaders complain that U.S. officials rarely acknowledge the deaths of thousands of Pakistanis in terrorist attacks since 2001.
  • Pakistan’s government has had its own political turmoil recently, which hasn’t helped the relationship with the United States.

Consequences

  • One potential consequence of a hardened U.S. approach to Pakistan is that Islamabad may deepen its cooperation with China.
  • Pakistan leaders unhappy with the United States not-so-subtly describe China as an “all-weather friend.”
  • Trump’s harsher stance on Pakistan also risks delaying the possibility of a negotiated peace settlement between the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government. Pakistan is believed to be a critical influence on Afghan Taliban leaders who may wish to discuss a settlement.

Ultimately, unless the United States can convince Pakistan that cutting links with Afghan Taliban fighters will benefit it 

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