Sat December 16, 2017
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Editorial

October 24, 2017

Share

Advertisement

Talking to the US

Talking to the US

Rex Tillerson’s first visit to South Asia as US secretary of state, beginning with his arrival in Pakistan today followed by a three-day trip to India, is likely to focus on Afghanistan. After India, Tillerson is also expected to travel to Kabul to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani although that has not been confirmed yet due to security reasons. The Trump administration’s strategy in Afghanistan revolves around handing India greater responsibility in the country, particularly in reconstruction efforts. This is not only a way for it to reward an ally that is becoming ever-closer, it also serves as a rebuke to Pakistan, which the US accuses of aiding militant groups. Most importantly for the US, this is its first attempt to stymie China’s ambitions for regional supremacy by positioning India as a rival. In a preview speech at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on October 19, Tillerson warned Pakistan that it has to take decisive steps against militant groups and that he would bring that same message to Islamabad. Goodwill may have been earned by Pakistan Army’s rescue of a Canadian-American couple held by the Haqqani Network but the deadly resurgence of violence in Afghanistan, in which nearly 200 people were killed in militant attacks last week, leaves the US looking for scapegoats for its failed strategy in the country.

Pakistan has always been the most convenient party to blame and for whatever diplomatic words come out of his meetings with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa, the message Tillerson delivers will be a reaffirmation of the Trump administration’s hard line. With India, he is expected to take an altogether softer approach. In the same speech in Washington, Tillerson said he wants India to be the US’ “most reliable” partner and that India and the US were the two bookends of stability on either side of the globe. Trump has accused China of any number of violations of international law, from currency manipulation to unfair trading practices. Now Tillerson has also previewed the message that China systemically violates the sovereignty of its neighbours. Ironically, he will repeat this in India – a country which continues to wage a brutal and illegal occupation in Kashmir and has involved itself in separatist movements in Pakistan. Our job will be to show Tillerson that he is mistaken in thinking that the US can ever defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan by relying only on India. Pakistan is still needed to negotiate a political end to the war and meetings with the US secretary of state will give us an opportunity to make that case. Pakistan may not be as reliant on US aid as before but good ties with the global superpower are still necessary.    

 

Advertisement

Comments

Advertisement

Topstory

Opinion

Newspost

Editorial

National

World

Sports

Business

Karachi

Lahore

Islamabad

Peshawar

Advertisement