Obama's Af-Pak policy elicits mixed response

Obama's Af-Pak policy elicits mixed response

“India believes that it is in the interest of the world community to impress upon Pakistan that it must use all its influence and resources to implement its commitments to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and to deny sanctuary to all terrorist groups who operate from its soil,” New Delhi stated in its first official reaction to Obama’s new Af-Pak strategy.

A spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that India welcomed “the emphasis in the US strategy on strengthening of Government of Afghanistan and Afghan security forces.” He added that New Delhi also welcomed Obama’s “reiteration of the need to squarely tackle terrorism; and for Pakistan to ensure that terrorists do not enjoy safe havens on its territory.”

Though Obama had called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday to discuss his new Af-Pak strategy before going public, he did not mention India and its concern over terrorism emanating from Pakistan even once in his speech.

New Delhi said that it was ‘pleased’ as Washington had decided to deploy 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan to maintain pressure on the militants. But it also sought to remind Washington that the real problem was in Pakistan, where both al-Qaeda and Taliban were nurtured and drew their strength from. 

Diplomatic sources said that New Delhi was disappointed as Washington had ignored in the process of reviewing the Af-Pak strategy the vital fact that Pakistan-based anti-India terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) were now operating in tandem with al-Qaeda.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told the Rajya Sabha  on Thursday that Prime Minister had conveyed to US President that the LeT had been one of the “real engines” of terrorism in the region.

Krishna was giving clarifications after making a statement in the Upper House of the Parliament over the Prime Minister’s recent visit to the US.

He said that India hoped to see more pro-active role by the US in containing LeT and other anti-India terrorist outfits based in Pakistan. “We hope in the days to come the US will play a more active role and join hands with India to contain terrorism,” he said,
replying to BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad’s observation that Obama had remained silent on anti-India terrorist outfit like the LeT.