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  India   All India  23 Aug 2017  India hails Donald Trump’s tough line on Pakistan

India hails Donald Trump’s tough line on Pakistan

Published : Aug 23, 2017, 1:38 am IST
Updated : Aug 23, 2017, 1:38 am IST

US President saying Pak was providing safe haven to terrorists was music to India’s ears.

United States President Donald Trump (Photo: AP)
 United States President Donald Trump (Photo: AP)

New Delhi/ Washington/Beijing: In a “shock” for Islamabad and “music” to New Delhi’s ears, the United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday read the riot act out to Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos, violence and terror” that kill Americans in Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has “much to lose” by harbouring terrorists.

While appreciating New Delhi for its role in Afghanistan, Mr Trump again taunted India “for making billions of dollars” in trade with the US and exhorted it to do more in Afghanistan, even as he appreciated India’s contribution to stability in the strife-torn country. New Delhi chose to remain silent on Mr Trump’s barb, though it pointed out India welcomed the US President’s determination to confront terror safe havens, and that India had been “steadfast” in its efforts towards the reconstruction of Afghanistan. 

In its reaction, China jumped to the rescue of its “all-weather friend” Pakistan, claiming that Islamabad is at the front-line of combating terrorism. 

Pakistan’s own response was muted, with its foreign minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif “highlighting Pakistan’s immense sacrifices in the enduring fight against terrorism”, after the US envoy in Pakistan, David Hale, met him to “brief” about Mr Trump’s statement. Mr Asif may travel to Washington soon to meet US secretary of state Rex Tillerson.  

Slamming Pakistan for its support to terror groups and warning it of consequences if it continued to do so, President Trump, in his first prime-time televised address to the nation as the commander-in-chief, said, “For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict. And that could happen. ... We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists.”

“But that will have to change. That will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country’s harbouring of militants and terrorists who target US service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilisation, order, and to peace,” the US President said. He said after a “comprehensive review”, it was decided that the American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia would change dramatically. Mr Trump said a pillar of his new strategy was a change in America’s approach to Pakistan. Mr Trump noted that in the past, the US has been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars but it continued to house the very terrorists that America is fighting against. 

“The Pakistani people have suffered from terrorism and extremism. We recognise those contributions and those sacrifices,” he noted, adding, “But Pakistan has also sheltered the same organisations that try every single day to kill our people.”

Mr Trump’s strong criticism of Pakistan comes days after the US had designated Kashmiri terror group Hizbul Mujahideen as a “foreign terrorist organisation”. Also, it comes about two months after the US declared the group’s Pakistan-based chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist.

On India, the US President said, “We appreciate India’s important contributions towards stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development.”

India said, “We welcome Mr Trump’s determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists. India shares these concerns and objectives.” 

Besides, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said, “India will be an important partner to ensure peace in the region, and we welcome its role in supporting Afghanistan’s political and economic modernisation.” 

Tags: donald trump, terrorists, rex tillerson
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi