US India Strategic Talks: Pakistan and Counter Terrorism

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Context

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expects to bolster gains in relations with India as she landed in New Delhi Monday night. The pending US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and India’s ties with traditional foe Pakistan will be discussed extensively during the trip. The visit comes after last week’s explosions in Mumbai that killed 19 persons and wounded over 130.

US political analysts believe that Clinton will urge the Indian leadership to remain calm and avoid raising tensions, because any overreaction from New Delhi may upset the already fragile US-Pakistan ties. However, Hillary did deliver some statements towards Pakistan today that are bound to raise alarm bells there.

After holding the second round of India-US strategic dialogue with external affairs minister S M Krishna, Hillary stated, “We do not believe that there are any terrorists who should be given safe haven or a free pass by any government, because left unchecked the consequences of that kind of terrorist activity or intimidation can become very difficult to manage and control.”

She further indicated that India and US are cooperating in intelligence sharing, in matters related to operations, including planning and investigation. These statements support the conclusion drawn by PoliTact after the Raymond Davis incident in Lahore; India and US are cooperating in panning and conducting covert operations in Pakistan against extremists. This development poses a frightening prospect for Pakistan’s military.