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White House sides with India over dispute with Pakistan

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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Amidst new peace overtures from the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan government after the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House has said that the onus is on Pakistan for sustained peace in South Asia by putting the "terror groups out of business".

Imran Khan has written a second letter to Prime Minister Modi after his landslide victory in recent election, saying that Pakistan wants talks with India to resolve all differences, including on the Kashmir issue. The Pakistani premier said talks between the two nations were the only solution to help both countries' people overcome poverty and that it was important to work together for regional development.

However, India has rejected Pakistan's offer of talks, claiming that what India calls terror and talks cannot go together and said that no bilateral meeting has been planned between the two premiers on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Summit (SCO) in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek on June 13-14.

"What the United States is really looking for in Pakistan are arrests and prosecutions and not allowing these groups to operate and move around freely, acquire weapons, cross into India, carry out attacks," a senior White House official was quoted as saying by the Indian news agency, Press Trust of India (PTI). The United States is looking for sustained and irreversible steps that shut down their operations, asserted the official who spoke on condition of anonymity, PTI said.

"Until these groups are put out of business, it's going to be very difficult for India and Pakistan to achieve a sustained peace. So the onus is on Pakistan to ensure that they crack down on these groups," told the White House official to PTI responding to a question on the US assessment of the Indo-Pak tension.

A senior State Department official said that in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack, the US has seen Pakistan taking some initial actions against designated terrorist organizations and more steps to enhance counter terrorism financing measures. "We welcome those steps," the official said.

"We have always agreed that the underlying causes of the tensions between India and Pakistan needed to be addressed " and the underlying tension has been the role of 'terrorist forces' that have sanctuary on Pakistani soil. So we certainly encourage the creation of an environment that will lead to a dialogue," the official told the PTI.

To borrow from Munir Akram, a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN, "America's new hostility towards Pakistan is due mostly to its emerging global rivalry with China, in which India has been chosen as Washington's strategic partner whereas Pakistan is listed on China's side of the power equation. The recently announced US South Asia Policy is predicated on India's regional domination."

US approves sale of armed drones to India

Meanwhile, in another development of growing US-India relations Hindustan Times reported Sunday (June 9) that US has approved sale of armed drones to India,

India is only the third country and the first non-NATO member country to have been offered the armed version of Guardian unmanned drones by the United States, the acquisition of which has been under discussion for almost a year now, the paper said.

Technical briefings have taken place and discussion are now focused on determining the number of drones that India would like to purchase.

The only other countries offered the armed drones are the United Kingdom and Italy, both NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) partners of the US according to Hindustan Times.

The United States had first offered General Atomics' unarmed MQ-9 Guardian drones for maritime surveillance and approved the sale of 22 of them to India around the time of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's June 2017 visit to Washington for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump.

But India was more interested in armed version of the drone- Predator-B - which the United States agreed to "about a year ago", as had been reported by Hindustan Times (May 2018) and Reuters (July 2018).

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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