The United States is counting on India, along with its other allies, to play a crucial role in its bid to make sure there are no safe havens for terrorists on Pakistan soil. Along with India and its NATO allies, the US administration is working to make Islamabad do everything to cut the insurgents off, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has said.
He said that President Donald Trump’s new South Asia strategy comprised regionalisation, realigning of forces and reinforcing them.
Trump, while announcing his South Asia policy in August, had criticised Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists. The Trump administration since then has been putting pressure on Pakistan to do more to rein in terror groups.
“What we want to do is start with — from India to across the region — is to make certain that everyone’s working off the same sheet of music. We want to make certain that no terrorist organisation can find a haven anywhere, and, with a border adjoining Afghanistan, that makes Pakistan a priority,” Mattis said.
As such the US is engaging with the Pakistanis, he added.
“We’re engaging a whole-of-government effort. We’ve got international efforts going on. And one of the reasons we brought it up here was to make certain we were all aligned about where we stood on this,” the US Defence Secretary told reporters at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Referring to the discussions he had with other NATO member countries, Mattis said, “It was remarkable alignment about us all working together to get Pakistan to do everything it can to cut the insurgents off, the terrorists off.”
Asked what is different with the Pakistan policy this time, Mattis said there were ways that the US could reward Pakistan and ways that the international community can ensure it was held accountable.
“But our principle, going into this, is that we are going to work with Pakistan and make this work, so that there’s no longer a threat coming across the border there,” he said.
This is an international effort and not just an American- alone effort, he added.
(With inputs from Agencies)