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US pro-India policy can hurt war on terror: China

Last updated on: July 22, 2011 11:23 IST

US pro-India policy will hamper fight against Pak militancy: China

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Against the backdrop of India and the United States firming up their counter-terrorism cooperation, an official Chinese think tank has claimed that Washington's "overtly pro-India stance" will hurt its overall goal to fight militancy in Pakistan.

"Not surprisingly, counter-terrorism is one of the top issues on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's agenda during her recent visit to India," said the think tank in an article titled 'US-South Asia policy', published in the state-run China Daily.

Written by Fu Xiaoqiang, director of the Centre for counter-terrorism Studies at the state-owned China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, the article mainly expressed concern over growing US-India cooperation in fields of civil nuclear technology and counter-terrorism, much to the determent of China's close strategic ally Pakistan.

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Image: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna during a photo call before their meeting in New Delhi
Photographs: Reuters
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'Indo-US doing opposite of what is needed to help Pak fight terrorists'

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"Clinton said the US has made it clear to Pakistan that confronting terrorism in all forms is in Islamabad's interest. Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna responded by saying that terror sanctuaries in Pakistan need to be eliminated for regional peace and stability. And Krishna welcomed Washington's decision to suspend the $ 800-million aid to Islamabad," it said.

Both the US and India are doing the "opposite of what they should have done to help Pakistan fight terrorists," it said, adding, "their hard stance could provoke Pakistanis and help Islamic extremists strengthen their base in Pakistan."

Image: Taliban fighters pose with weapons as they sit in their compound at an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan
Photographs: Reuters
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'US has in some ways harmed Pak's sovereignty, security'

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"The US may have its reasons for the overtly pro-India stance in its South Asia strategy. But that could harm Pakistan's national security and the sustainability of US-Pakistan relations. Over the past 10 years, the US has treated India as Pakistan's arch-rival, as a global strategic partner -- providing it with civilian nuclear fuel and technology -- and has let India spread its influence in Afghanistan. Clinton's visit to India will consolidate that cooperation," the article said.

In contrast, the US has treated Pakistan only as a regional partner in its fight against terrorism and its aid to Islamabad has always come with set of conditions, some of which have harmed Pakistan's sovereignty and security, it claimed. Also, the US has thwarted Pakistan's efforts to develop nuclear energy for civilian use and build oil pipelines, it alleged, adding that inequity and distrust are rooted deeply in US-Pak ties.

Image: Anti-US protests in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman

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'US moving away from Pak after killing Osama'

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The tone and tenor of the article was surprising considering recent assertions by Chinese officials that China wants to develop close ties with India, independent of its relationship with Pakistan, thereby bringing about a strategic shift in the pro-Pakistan policy followed by it for the past several decades.

The article also said that the US apparently is moving away from Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden.

"The killing of bin Laden has made Washington reduce its anti-terrorism front and prompted change in US-Pakistan ties. Washington's new anti-terrorism strategy is explicitly aimed at ensuring security within the US and strengthening special operations, rather than traditional military means, against terrorists," Xiaoqiang wrote.

"This strategic change means Pakistan's role as an anti-terrorism ally is becoming less important to the US," he said.

Image: A screen grab from FBI's Most Wanted website taken May 2, 2011 shows the status of Osama bin Laden as deceased

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'To fight terror, US should treat India-Pak equally'

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"In more ways than one, bin Laden's killing has been a turning point in the US' anti-terrorism strategy and has created uncertainties for the US-Pakistan anti-terrorism alliance as well as bilateral ties," the article said.

But, "if the US is really serious about fighting terrorism in South Asia, it should treat India and Pakistan more equally, instead of standing closer to New Delhi and putting extra pressure on Islamabad. This will promote peace in the region and eventually help the US achieve its anti-terrorism goal. Or else, it could yield the opposite result," it said
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Photographs: Reuters
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