Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Tillerson's visit to India highlights emerging Indo-US ties

Pakistan would not budge against United States demands Khawaja Asif Pakistan would not budge against United States demands Khawaja Asif
Erik Tate | 28 October, 2017, 01:07

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif has plugged triumphalism a bit too much after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Islamabad, telling the Senate he has told the Americans to get lost, thus inviting doubt over the "good news" that Pakistan finally has a foreign minister. "We are concerned with the role U.S. is giving to India in the region. We believe that countries should resolve their issues through engagement and dialogue", he said.

"For a meeting, he invites Afghan president in the bunker and such a situation only depicts USA failure in Afghanistan", he said. He added that the incumbent government did not compromise on national interest as former military ruler Pervez Musharraf did and neither were orders taken [from US]. However, he clearly stated that on the basis of equality and self-respect, Pakistan want to expand relations with the US.

It has also invoked support from (real) allies such as China, and purported allies such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Turkey to counter USA pressure. We have a huge trust deficit. "But we are talking".

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Pakistan on Tuesday and India on Wednesday to discuss U.S. strategy for South Asia as outlined by President Donald Trump in August. However, he added that Pakistan's side conveyed that Pakistan's influence on Afghan Taliban has been reduced which is diminishing gradually, as they have been relocated.

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Speaking on Geo News programme Aaj Shahzaib Khanzada Kay Sath, the minister said that in the meeting with Tillerson earlier in the day, the civil and military leadership presented a detailed narrative about its stance on the country's war against terrorism. "For many years, Pakistan has made positive efforts to counter terrorism and has made great sacrifices", Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said. During talks with Tillerson, he said the USA sought Pakistan's cooperation in Afghan reconciliation process and in return, the United States would address Pakistan's security concerns as well as continue to target terror groups such as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Daesh.

"We emphasised again and again that their [US] assessment [about Pakistan] is wrong", he said.

He insisted that even if Pakistan were to be blamed, it could not be involved in any of the deep-rooted issues that exist in its neighbouring country beyond the borders joining the two countries. Asif also shared with committee the assessment of Pakistan and other regional countries that Taliban at present are controlling 45 percent of Afghanistan's territory while the U.S. believes that Taliban only control 10 percent of the Afghan territory and that Afghan government does not have en effective control on 35 percent of the territory.

"To address those concerns, the secretary outlined the United States' new South Asia strategy and the vital role that Pakistan can play in working with the United States and others to facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan that can bring stability and security to the region. It is not in anyone's interests that the government of Pakistan be destabilised".

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