22 Nov 2017 13:23 IST

Pakistan will always be important for US, say experts

The US policy toward South Asia is not new

Pakistan will always be important to the US in its strategy towards containing Taliban and other terrorist organisations in Afghanistan even as India will continue to play a crucial role in balancing the geopolitical changes in the region, say experts.

“The US policy toward South Asia is not new, but a tweaking of the earlier policy … And India’s relationship with China and Pakistan should not worsen because we think the Americans are on our side,” said former diplomat KC Singh at an event – The New US Policy toward South Asia: Implications for the Region – organised by Chaophraya Dialogue: India Chapter here on Tuesday.

Ambassador Singh said India should be very careful in coming under US’ radar when it comes to their strategy for Asia Pacific or offshore balancing.

“India will have to function within a shadow play in the bipolar world,” he added.

Within nine months into the Presidency, Donald Trump announced his much-awaited South Asia policy in August this year. While not deviating much from what his predecessor Barack Obama did with Afghanistan to promote the war on terror there, President Trump vowed to keep American boots on Afghan soil.

One of the main reasons, why President Trump did this was to ensure that withdrawal of international troops from there should provide an opportunity to terrorist organisations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS or Daesh, Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) to make a comeback again into mainstream politics.

“India has welcomed Trump’s South Asia policy because it clearly mentions Pakistan as a safe haven for terrorists. America’s only objective is to get rid of the safe havens for terrorist organisations and preventing the nuclear armaments to come into the hands of terrorists,” said Gulshan Sachdeva, professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

He also believes that in return of India endorsing US’ South Asia policy, it can be asked of other things by America in terms of promoting trade and connectivity with war-torn Afghanistan.

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