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Afghanistan and India have welcomed the path laid by the US for fighting the simmering war in Afghanistan. US President Trump’s speech where he rolled-out his administration’s strategy for the region was followed by laudatory statements from Afghanistan and India. In the respective statements, both countries hailed US’ determination and commitment to fighting terrorism and those who support it.

Delhi will look for follow up actions from the Trump administration against Pakistan. However, it will be a tad reticent to step-up engagements of the sort that Trump expects

The Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani said that the new strategy depicts US’ enduring commitment to peace in Afghanistan. “I am grateful to President Trump and the American people for this affirmation of support for our efforts to achieve self-reliance and for our joint struggle to rid the region from the threat of terrorism,” said Ghani in a statement.

President Trump, among other things, promised to continue bolstering the capacities of the Afghan security forces and the government. Ghani said: “It will particularly pay an emphasis on enhancing the Afghan air power, doubling the size of the Afghan Special Force and deepening NATO’s ability to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces.”

Read more: Trumps’ new Afghan strategy- recipe for war, destruction, and mayhem

The need to augment the strength of the Afghan forces has gained traction after the ANSF have been found wanting against the onslaught of the Taliban and the ISIS-K for that matter with the Taliban continually targeting Afghan forces with ease and finesse since spring this year.

We are committed to supporting the government and the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to bring peace, security, stability, and prosperity in their country

“Following this strategy towards stability allows the region to work together in achieving mutual goals of peace and prosperity, and provide a clear pathway for the regional countries to end support for non-state actors,” Ghani added. The President, in all earnestness, alluded to an Indo-US entente to defeat terrorists and their abettors. Trump requested for India’s support in upsurging development in Afghanistan during his speech.

President Ghani today said that Pakistan should now change its approach, referring to Pakistan’s alleged role in stoking up terrorism inside Afghanistan, something which Trump asserted categorically in his 25-minute speech yesterday.

Read more: A policy in search of a strategy

An elated India

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) wholeheartedly welcomed Trump’s speech. In a statement released on Tuesday, New Delhi lauded Trump and said: “We welcome President Trump’s determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists. India shares these concerns and objectives”.

India blames the festering Kashmir saga on proxies controlled by Pakistan. Delhi also believes that the Pakistan Army engages in the sub-conventional war to defeat it

India was particularly chuffed with Trump’s open references to Pakistan and its alleged support for terrorism in the region. The cornerstone of India’s narrative against Pakistan was echoed by Trump yesterday, much to the delight of New Delhi. Trump said: “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond… Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor terrorists.”

Read more: Should anyone believe U.S. State Department promises on Syria?

India has been imploring the US to talk tough with Pakistan especially in regards to the presence of anti-India elements in that country. India blames the festering Kashmir saga on proxies controlled by Pakistan. Delhi also believes that the Pakistan Army engages in the sub-conventional war to defeat it.

The cornerstone of India’s narrative against Pakistan was echoed by Trump yesterday, much to the delight of New Delhi

Trump added: “For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror… Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.

But that will have to change, and that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target US service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace.”

Thus, India is seen more enthusiastic on Trump’s diatribes against Pakistan than his invitation for playing a greater role in Afghanistan. Trump rather unexpectedly said: “We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development.”

Read more: China lambasts Trump as the battle lines are drawn in South…

It will particularly an emphasis on enhancing the Afghan air power, doubling the size of the Afghan Special Force and deepening NATO’s ability to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces

Delhi received the invitation warmly but said that it will continue with what it is already doing. The statement read: “We are committed to supporting the government and the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to bring peace, security, stability, and prosperity in their country.

We have been steadfast in extending reconstruction and development assistance to Afghanistan in keeping with our traditional friendship with its people. We will continue these efforts, including in partnership with other countries.”

Delhi will look for follow up actions from the Trump administration against Pakistan. However, it will be a tad reticent to step-up engagements of the sort that Trump expects. As of now, Delhi is the 5th largest aid provider to Afghanistan with growing defense ties. The US wants to prop up India to forestall the nascent influence of China in Afghanistan, however, India’s physical engagement or even increased influence in Afghanistan would further ramp up tensions in the volatile region.

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