New US pressure on Pakistan

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India given vital role in region

Nation special report
WASHINGTON: In new threatening scenario, Pakistan faces new challenges from the United States as President Donald Trump, while unveiling his new national security strategy, reminded Pakistan that it’s obliged to help America because it receives “massive payments” from Washington every year. “We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory.
And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help,” said the president while addressing his nation from the Ronald Reagan building in Washington. The warning was issued in his speech, although the 56-page document that he released deals with it in more details, urging Pakistan to “continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets”.
The policy paper also says that “the United States continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan”. The new strategy, however, focuses more on the domestic front and identifies two “greatest transnational threats” to homeland security: Jihadist terrorists and international criminal organisations. Preventing jihadists In order to prevent jihadists from entering the United States, it suggests tightening America’s immigration system by ending lottery visas and chain migration, which allows family members of a US citizen to settle in the country.
The plan also reinforces President Trump’s pledge to build a wall on the US border with Mexico to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the United States. The paper says that the jihadist use “barbaric cruelty to commit murder, repression, and slavery, and virtual networks to exploit vulnerable populations and i spire and direct plots”.
Responsible steward The Trump administration’s first foreign policy — announced on Monday — urges Pakistan to demonstrate that it’s a “responsible steward” of its nuclear assets and warns that the fear of a nuclear conflict with India remains a key concern in Washington. The new policy also insists that Pakistan take action against militants on its soil and intensify its counterterrorism efforts if it wants to continue its partnership with the United States.
“The United States will also encourage Pakistan to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets,” says an official copy of the new policy released by the White House. India-Pak conflict “The prospect for an Indo Pakistani military conflict that could lead to a nuclear exchange remains a key concern requiring consistent diplomatic attention,” it warns. In a reference to the alleged presence of militant hideouts inside Fata, the Trump administration says: “We will insist that Pakistan take decisive action against militant and terrorist groups operating from its soil” as the United States “continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan.”
Reminding Islamabad that “no partnership can survive a country’s support for militants and terrorists,” the Trump administration adds: “We will press Pakistan to intensify its counter-terrorism efforts, which target a partner’s own service members and officials.”
The document also tells Islamabad that US interests in the region include countering terrorist threats that impact the security of the US homeland and its allies. The US also wants to prevent “cross-border terrorism that raises the prospect of military and nuclear tensions,” adds the document while pledging to prevent “nuclear weapons, technology, and materials from falling into the hands of terrorists.” The document says that the Trump administration seeks an American presence in the region, which is proportionate to threats to the homeland and US allies. “We seek a Pakistan that is not engaged in destabilizing behavior and a stable and self-reliant Afghanistan,” says the document, adding that US interests in Pakistan are not confined to terrorism alone. “In Pakistan, we will build trade and investment ties as security improves and as Pakistan demonstrates that it will assist the United States in our counter-terrorism goals,” it adds.
South Asian nations The document also pledges to help South Asian nations in dealing with a looming threat from China. “We will help South Asian nations maintain theirsovereign as China increases its influence in the region,” it says. The new policy relies heavily on India for achieving these targets. “We will deepen our strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region,” it says. “We will encourage the economic integration of Central and South Asia to promote prosperity and economic linkages that will bolster connectivity and trade. And we will encourage India to increase its economic assistance in the region.” Rely on India The new policy relies heavily on India for achieving these targets. “We will deepen our strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region,” it says. “We will encourage the economic integration of Central and South Asia to promote prosperity and economic linkages that will bolster connectivity and trade.
And we will encourage India to increase its economic assistance in the region.” The Trump administration says that in Central Asia, it seeks states that are resilient against domination by rival powers, are resistant to becoming jihadist safe havens, and prioritize reforms. “We will work with the Central Asian states to guarantee access to the region to support our counterterrorism efforts,” it adds. Pentagon’s threats The Trump administration has informed Congress that it will take unilateral steps in areas of divergence with Pakistan while expanding cooperation between the two countries where their interests converge.
In a report to Congress, which was released to the media this weekend, the Pentagon also underlined the need for a joint US Afghan platform for combating more than 20 militant groups active in the region. This is the Pentagon’s first report on Afghanistan since Aug 21, when President Donald Trump announced his new South Asia strategy, which deepens American military involvement in Afghanistan while urging Pakistan to back US efforts for defeating the Taliban.
Pakistan may lose territory The United States is now even saying that Pakistan could lose control of its territory if it does not sever ties with the Haqqanis and other terrorists. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — who issued the advice at a Washington think tank earlier this week — also said the militants who were focusing on Kabul might one day decide that Islamabad was a better target. The warning followed a Pentagon statement, which said the new US strategy for Afghanistan had “fundamentally changed the battlefield in favour of Afghan national security forces” and the Taliban militants were now on the retreat.