FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Pakistan and US must talk
Updated:Aug 28, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
As the senior-most American military commander in Afghanistan tasked with implementing the US administration’s latest strategy in the country, Gen John Nicholson was likely to have tough words for Pakistan.
 
In an interview with Tolo News, Gen Nicholson has reiterated a familiar US talking point on Pakistan: Afghan Taliban leaders continue to allegedly enjoy sanctuary and freedom of movement inside Pakistan.
 
More promisingly, the American general added that the issue of alleged Pakistan-based militant sanctuaries is “being addressed in private between the US government and the Pakistani government”. If that is the case – if behind-the-scenes talks are indeed continuing rather than the US simply hectoring Pakistan – it suggests a pragmatism on both sides that has not been in evidence in public recently.
 
Indeed, the decision to postpone Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s talks with his American counterpart, Rex Tillerson, in the US and embark on visits to China, Russia and Turkey first suggests a typically knee-jerk diplomatic reaction.
 
Mr Asif’s mission as determined by the National Security Committee is to win support for Pakistan’s official position on Afghanistan – that there can only be a political settlement with the Afghan Taliban for long-term peace – and Pakistan’s concerns of regional destabilisation that the Trump administration’s so-called South Asia strategy will likely cause.
 
Direct talks with the US, especially at the highest diplomatic levels, could have sent a signal that Pakistan is interested in finding solutions to problems rather than just complaining to third countries about perceived American unreasonableness.
 
Today, a senior bureaucrat from the US State Department was expected to visit Pakistan in a previously unannounced trip. Instead, Pakistan has chosen to further signal its displeasure by cancelling the visit of the US acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, perhaps an unnecessary move.
 
The new US policy is certainly unfair in its characterisation of the Afghan war, with its readiness to heap blame on Pakistan and its willingness to draw India deeper into Afghanistan without addressing the competing interests of several other regional powers.
 
However, US President Donald Trump is clearly uncomfortable with having had to bow to the advice of the American defence and national-security apparatus and that may help create the space for a continuing and pragmatic bilateral engagement with the US. As army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa has rightly argued, Pakistan is not seeking America’s largesse, but its fair understanding of a complex regional situation.
 
While the strategic chasm between the US and Pakistan on Afghanistan is now public and undeniable, there is still space and time for constructive dialogue. The starting point must be a realisation on both sides that absolute positions are neither helpful nor workable.
 
A strategic rupture is in neither the US nor Pakistan’s interest.
 
Dawn News, August 28, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has confirmed his presence for the occasion. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Sidharto R.Suryodipuro, reminded Nilova Roy Chaudhury that the first Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, in 1950, w
 
read-more
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka
 
read-more
In a significant boost to New Delhi's Act East Policy, India and Japan set up the Act East Forum on Tuesday as agreed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India this year for the annual bilateral meeting that would help to focus and catalyse development in India's Northeast.
 
read-more
  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated on Friday Washington's warning that “all options are on the table” to meet North Korea's nuclear threat while offering to keep the lines of communication with Pyongyang open.
 
read-more
The 15th trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China concluded in New Delhi on Monday with many nuanced takeaways embedded in the joint statement of 46 paragraphs. Reiterating that the forum “is not directed against any other country”, the statement underlined the importance of the establishment o
 
read-more
The first thing that one sees when a flight approaches New Delhi is thick smog that envelopes the city and its lack of greenery.  In almost all other major cities of India lack of greenery is the most obvious sight that one sees when approaching it by air.
 
read-more

Pakistan has agreed to allow the rupee to depreciate after holding talks with the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on the country's economy.

 
read-more

Two major global changes in the past year; the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the advent of Donald Trump, writes Sandeep Kaur Bhatia

 
read-more

It is also imperative for India to explore other regions for markets. Its trade deficit with Latin America has been narrowing. Also, its trade with Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala has increased, ...

 
read-more
Column-image

Over the last 25 years, India's explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world's emerging major powers. Long plagued by endemic poverty, until the 1990s the Indian economy was also hamstrung by a burdensome regulat...

 
Column-image

Title: A Ticket to Syria; Author: Shirish Thorat; Publisher: Bloomsbury India: Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

 
Column-image

Gorichen, a majestic peak in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 22,500 feet, is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh. Beautiful to look at and providing a fantastic view from the top, it is extremely tough climb for mountaineers.

 
Column-image

It is often conjectured if the reason for long-standing conflicts and insurgencies, in the developing world, especially South Asia, is not only other powers fishing in troubled waters but also the keenness of arms industries, mostly Western, to...

 
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699