In another pull and push exercise in US policy towards south Asia, Trump administration has described India as a “leading global power” while it asked Pakistan to take “decisive action” against terrorist groups operating from its soil through its new National Security Strategy (NSS) unveiled on Tuesday.
According to reports received from Washington the 68-page document was released by President Donald Trump. It said, “We will expand our defence and security cooperation with India, a Major Defence Partner of the United States, and support India’s growing relationships throughout the region.”
“We welcome India’s emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defence partner.We will deepen our strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region,” the document said.
India-US defence relationship was referred in the context of Indo-Pacific region, whereas it gave a “very prominent role to India” in South and Central Asia.
Meanwhile new strategy seeks a Pakistan which is not engaged in destabilising behaviour. The US, it said, continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan.
In his remarks President Trump said, “We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help.”
“We will press Pakistan to intensify its counterterrorism efforts, since no partnership can survive a country’s support for militants and terrorists who target a partner’s own service members and officials,” he said.
“The United States will also encourage Pakistan to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets,” it said, adding the US will continue to partner with Afghanistan to promote peace and security in the region.
In an apparent reference to China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the NSS said, “We will help South Asian nations maintain their sovereignty as China increases its influence in the region”.
India has opposed the CPEC as the corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). New Delhi refused to participate in OBOR Summit in Beijing held in May this year. India considers PoK as its own territory under the illegal occupation of Pakistan.
“The prospect for an Indo-Pakistani military conflict that could lead to a nuclear exchange remains a key concern requiring consistent diplomatic attention,” NSS said.
Meanwhile, Trump addressed his domestic constituency in downtown Washington. He said, “For many years, our citizens watched as Washington politicians presided over one disappointment after another; too many of our leaders — so many — who forgot whose voices they were to respect, and whose interest they were supposed to defend.”
“We know that American success is not a foregone conclusion. It must be earned and it must be won. Our rivals are tough. They’re tenacious and committed to the long term, but so are we,” he said. “To succeed, we must integrate every dimension of our national strength, and we must compete with every instrument of our national power.”
“With this strategy, we are calling for a great reawakening of America, a resurgence of confidence, and a rebirth of patriotism, prosperity and pride,” he said.
Meanwhile Kevin Liptak, CNN White House producer says that new NSS was “an extension of his populist economic message, lambasting last presidents and trumpeting his own achievements during a speech meant to outline the guiding principles of his NSS.
He further said that, “In a speech that closely resembled a campaign address, Trump offered a laundry list of accomplishments and a reiteration of his view that Americans have been left behind as a result of decisions made by past administrations, including immigration, the Iran nuclear deal and trade pacts.”
White House says that the “new strategy sets a positive strategic direction for the US that will restore America’s advantages in the world and build upon our country’s great strengths.”
National security aides to Trump began working on the strategy statement immediately after he occupied White House. President formally endorsed the document at a cabinet meeting last week.