President Trump wants to defeat the Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan to enable Afghanistan to maintain law and order. However, the USA cannot achieve this unless Pakistan withdraws its support of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Pakistan has been giving safe haven to the Taliban in North West Frontier province of Pakistan. Although the USA has been pressing Pakistan for several years, Pakistan has not cooperated. Pakistan has aggravated U.S.-Pakistan relations by hiding and safeguarding Osama bin Laden for seven years. Trump has given an ultimatum to Pakistan that unless Pakistan takes necessary action to get rid of terrorists of all brands including Lakshar-e-Taiba that was responsible for attacking Mumbai, the U.S. will revoke the U.S. Pakistan Mutual Security Pact in effect from 1954.

President Trump is being ably advised by Lisa Curtis, director in charge of South Asia in the National Security Council. In a recent report she co-authored with former Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani, Curtis praised Pakistan’s achievements in Operation Zarb-i-Azb but also underlined the need for a nuanced pressure on Pakistan to make it align its policies on Afghanistan with the U.S.

The report suggests a more vigorous effort to encourage Pakistan to break ties with the Taliban and other terrorist groups based in the country, like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is accused of attacking Mumbai in November 2008.

The report also recommends curtailing assistance to the military if it assists groups that kill Americans, including U.S. troops in Afghanistan or American visitors in India. It recommends revoking Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally in six months if the army does not change.

It also suggests a review of the option to declare Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism if Islamabad does not change its policies. The report also lays out a roadmap for Pakistan to change its policies.

Pakistan has long been critical of India’s presence in Afghanistan but Haqqani believes it is entirely based on trade, aid and education ties. These are not dangerous for Pakistan and the two countries can further improve their relations by working together in Afghanistan.

Trump has offered to India 100% of all U.S. technology and he made a point to underscore that India would be treated like America’s closest ally. Trump wants to beef up the united naval power of the U.S., India, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines in defending against the Chinese adventure and ambition.

Trump pointed out that the U.S. has paid over $35 billion to Pakistan since 9/11, but Pakistan has betrayed it. Trump wants to withdraw from Afghanistan as early as possible. Pakistan has no choice but to cooperate with the U.S. This is a great opportunity for India to work in unison with the USA, Australia, Japan, and South Korea.

Ven Parameswaran

National Senior Vice Chairman,

Indian American Republican Committee

Scarsdale, New York

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