India not on same page with US on terror from Pakistan

India not on same page with US on terror from Pakistan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AFP Photo)

India and the United States do not seem to be entirely on the same page on ways to make Pakistan stop supporting cross-border terrorism, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Government is preparing to host American President Donald Trump in New Delhi and Ahmedabad later this month.

The US State Department lauded Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Government in Islamabad after a court in Pakistan sentenced Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed to imprisonment for 11 years after convicting him in two cases. New Delhi, however, remained skeptical about Pakistan's sincerity in squeezing the flow of funds to terrorist outfits and stopping exporting terror to India.

What also raised hackles in New Delhi is the Trump Administration's plan to restart training for soldiers of the armed forces of Pakistan. The US State Department of late sought approval from the American Congress to spend $ 72 million in the next financial year to restart the International Military Education and Training scheme for Pakistan.

The IMET scheme was a component of the larger US security aid package, worth $ 2 billion annually, for Pakistan, but the entire programme was suspended by Trump Administration in January 2018 to force Islamabad to combat the menace of terror more effectively. The US move to restart the IMET programme for Pakistan signaled a change in Trump Administration's approach to Khan Government, which might hold it up as an endorsement by Washington D.C. for its endeavor to combat terror, sources told the DH in New Delhi.

India also has reservations over the US move to clinch a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan too. New Delhi has been warning Trump Administration about the possibility of Pakistan continuing to provide support to terrorists in Afghanistan even after the peace-deal.

A day after the Anti-Terrorism Court at Lahore in Pakistan convicted Hafiz Saeed and his aide Malik Zafar Iqbal of money-laundering and raising fund for terrorist outfits; New Delhi noted that it was among the long-pending international obligation of the government of the neighbouring country to “put an end to support to terrorism”.

Alice Wells, acting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian affairs, however, said that the conviction of Hafiz Saeed and his associate was “an important step forward” by Pakistan – “both toward holding (the) LeT accountable for its crimes” and for meeting the “international commitments” of Khan Government in Islamabad to “combat terrorist financing”.

“And as @ImranKhanPTI has said, it is in the interest of #Pakistan’s future that it not allow non-state actors to operate from its soil,” Wells posted on Twitter. Her post signaled US willingness to lend credence to Islamabad's argument export of terrorism from Pakistan to India and other countries in South Asia were handiwork of the “non-state actors”. India, however, has been arguing that the terror infrastructure in Pakistan could not have run without support from the “state actors”, including the elements of the powerful military establishment of the neighbouring country. 

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