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US expert cautions Trump administration against trusting Pakistan

The Week 2019-08-19 00:00:00

A top American foreign policy expert has cautioned the Trump Administration against any strategic tilt towards Pakistan and moving away from India.

"The US would be unwise to turn to Pakistan as a strategic partner," Richard N Hass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in an op-ed last week.

Pakistan sees a friendly government in Kabul as vital to its security and competition with arch-rival India, he wrote in his op-ed that was first published by Project Syndicate and thereafter, on the CFR website.

"There is little reason to believe that the military and intelligence services, which continue to run Pakistan, will rein in the Taliban or rule out terrorism," Hass said.

"Equally, the US would be unwise to alienate India. Yes, India has a tradition of protectionist trade policies and often frustrates US policymakers with its reluctance to cooperate fully on strategic issues," he wrote.

But democratic India, which will soon surpass China as the world's most populous country and will boast the world's fifth-largest economy, is a good long-term bet, he added.

"It is a natural partner to help balance China. India has rejected participation in China's Belt and Road Initiative, whereas Pakistan, struggling economically, has embraced it," Hass said.

According to the top American scholar, the US would also be unwise to race for the exits from Afghanistan.

The US-Pakistan partnership in Afghanistan is complex, and both have accused each other of being insincere in every way. Pakistan is always hesitant to act against Islamic extremists in Pakistan. In order to secure Pakistan's support, the US has pampered Islamabad with incentives and leaned towards India, which raised Pakistan's concerns.

(With inputs from PTI)