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The Foreign Office has expressed its concerns regarding the recent Indo-US joint statement stating it to be detrimental to peace in the region.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump emphatically called upon Pakistan to mend its way. The joint statement released after both leaders met was welcomed triumphantly in Delhi, for it berated Pakistan with some strong words.

“The leaders called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries. They further called on Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups,” the statement noted.

The statement is strongly-worded and is evident of growing Indo-US cooperation in controlling Pakistan.

“The joint statement is singularly unhelpful in achieving the objective of strategic stability and durable peace in the South Asian region. By failing to address key sources of tension and instability in the region, the statement aggravates an already tense situation,” the FO said.

Read more:Weapons for India; warnings for Pakistan: Trumps South Asia policy

The statement is strongly-worded and is evident of growing Indo-US cooperation in controlling Pakistan. Islamabad is also perturbed on US’s lack of attention to human rights violations in Kashmir and its recent drone deal with India.

The US had, ahead of the Trump-Modi meeting, listed Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, a move hailed by India as evidence of US cooperation against terrorism.

Washington and New Delhi share concerns about China’s rise as a military power. However, both countries also have similar views regarding controlling what they call an unbridled Pakistan. The statement reiterated that both the countries are in unison against Pakistan’s alleged role in spreading terrorism in the region

Officials in the White House asserted last week that US ties with India and Pakistan were not a zero sum game. “We are certainly eager to deepen our strategic partnership with India,” a US official told reporters last week. He added that relationship with Pakistan and India is not a zero sum game and can stand-alone. However, Pakistan established ties with the US in order to confront the Indian menace and hence takes exceptions to Washington closeness with New Delhi. Amid regional chaos, this increasing mistrust is the last thing needed.

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The surge against Pakistan

There are reasons as to why Islamabad has raised eyebrows regarding the joint communique of the Trump-Modi meet. Washington and New Delhi share concerns about China’s rise as a military power. However, both countries also increasingly have similar views regarding controlling what they call an unbridled Pakistan. The statement reiterated that both the countries are in unison against Pakistan’s alleged role in spreading terrorism in the region. The clear references made to Pakistan; the designation of Syed Salah Uddin as a Global Terrorist and increasing defense cooperation have once again stoked up the already tensed environment in the region.

Read more:Is Pakistan still indispensable for the US in the region?

Kashmir is the casus belli between India and Pakistan.US has time and again been looked up to as a mediator. Hence, putting Syed Salahuddin on the terror list is a dent to Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir and a conspicuous ratification of India’s narrative on the valley. If anything, Indo-Pak tensions will simmer once again.

The word is abuzz that President Donald Trump’s administration is all in readiness to step-up the drive against Pakistan to crack down on Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The Administration is mulling on a variety of options. They include expanding US drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid to Pakistan and eventually downgrading Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally.

Last month, in a high-level tripartite meeting, Afghan, US and Pakistani military officials agreed to take on the emerging threat from the ISIS in a coordinated manner.

Last week much in-line with the majority in Washington two US lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill in Congress, seeking to revoke Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally (MNNA) owing to Pakistan’s alleged complicity in bolstering anti US forces in the region.

Read more:Can Pak-US ties be reconfigured amid hardened positions?

The focus of the bill, however, is on cancelling the MNNA status, which was granted to Pakistan in 2004 by then President George W. Bush to encourage Islama­bad to help the United States fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban. If passed, the legislation will greatly hurt military to military relations between the two countries, something which will impede the fight against militancy in the region. Last month, in a high-level tripartite meeting, Afghan, US and Pakistani military officials agreed to take on the emerging threat from the ISIS in a coordinated manner.

However, both countries are at loggerheads due to constant reserves faced by the Afghan and US forces in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban. The US blames Pakistan for most the troubles in Afghanistan and is hence including Pakistan in its impending policy for Afghanistan.

“Pakistan must be held accountable for the American blood on its hands,” said Republican Congressman Ted Poe, who introduced the bipartisan bill along with Congressman Rick Nolan, a Democrat.

The bill may be resisted by lawmakers who still feel that Islamabad is not only needed as route for military troops in Afghanistan but also in bringing about a negotiated end to an otherwise unwinnable war.

He added ““From harbouring Osama bin Laden to backing the Taliban, Pakistan has stubbornly refused to go after, in any meaningful way, terrorists that actively seek to harm opposing ideologies.”

Read more:The US “Mini-surge” in  Afghanistan: Tough times ahead for Pakistan?

The bill may be resisted by lawmakers who still feel that Islamabad is not only needed as route for military troops in Afghanistan but also in bringing about a negotiated end to an otherwise unwinnable war. The increasingly obvious tilt in favor of India will not be likened by Pakistan, something which will hamper much-needed Pak-US cooperation. However the US will most likely strengthen India as a bulwark against the expansive Beijing, an interest common to both countries but against Pakistan. Modi, in all earnestness completed a highly successful visit to the US and has set the cat among the pigeons in Islamabad. Trump’s South Asia policy is one that will definitely irk Pakistan in the days to come and flare up tensions with India.

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