Washington's approach to Islamabad upsets New Delhi

Washington's approach to Islamabad upsets New Delhi

Washington's approach to Islamabad upsets New Delhi

India is upset over America’s recent aid of $ One billion to Pakistan and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to convey New Delhi’s disappointment to US Secretary of State John Kerry.

 Kerry would be travelling to Gandhinagar in the third week of the current month.Swaraj is expected to convey to Kerry that his recent remark lauding Pakistan Army as a “truly binding force” was not in keeping with the perception in New Delhi about the men-in-uniform in the neighbouring country.  What also did not go down well with India is American President Barack Obama’s call to Pakistan Prime Minister M Nawaz Sharif soon after announcement of his visit to New Delhi to attend the Indian Republic Day ceremony on January 26. Kerry will attend the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, scheduled to take place in Gandhinagar from January 11 to 13.

 He is expected to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hold a meeting with his counterpart Swaraj to prepare for the American president’s visit.  As both Modi and Swaraj will be attending the Summit, the meetings may take place in Gandhinagar, in case Kerry’s itinerary does not include New Delhi.
Washington’s approach to Islamabad emerged as an irritant to US-India ties ahead of Obama’s visit to New Delhi. Sources told Deccan Herald that New Delhi had been upset when Obama called up Sharif shortly after US State Department had announced on November 21 last his acceptance of the Modi Government’s invitation to attend the Republic Day ceremony as the chief guest.

Obama’s call to Sharif indicated a throwback to old US policy of hyphenating India and Pakistan. 

The call also gave the Pakistan prime minister an opportunity to complain to the US president about India.

The issue was discussed at the top echelons of the Bharatiya Janata Party and several leaders of the ruling party were of the view that New Delhi should convey to Washington its displeasure over the call.

During her meeting with Kerry, Swaraj will cite recent instances of persistent ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army and paramilitary forces along the Line of Control and the undisputed stretch of the border, grant of bail to Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and continuous effort by the neighbouring country’s soldiers to support militants’ bid to infiltrate into India.

She will also convey New Delhi’s unease over the defence authorisation bill signed by Obama in December providing for $ 1 billion in aid to Pakistan in 2015. The conditions set for release of the US aid to Pakistan included Islamabad taking actions to disrupt the terror organisations like Haqqani Network and dismantling safe havens of al-Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. 

New Delhi is upset that Washington had not included Pakistan’s actions against anti-India outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba in the conditions for release of the fund to Islamabad.

An official in New Delhi said that India would continue to oppose any selective approach in the fight against the menace of terrorism and would ask the US and rest of the international community to ensure that financial support being provided by them should not be misused to run the terror machines.