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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Friday that healthy and strong ties between Delhi and Washington do not threaten Pakistan,but national cohesiveness is needed to counter all internal and external challenges.

While addressing a meeting at the Foreign Office,the premier said that Pakistan would continue to support the Kashmir cause, an issue which festers and has the potential to aggravate further tensions between India and Pakistan. Seemingly, the Kashmir case was snubbed during and before Modi’s visit to Washington.

Less buyers in Washington

The US had,ahead of the Trump-Modi meeting, listed Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, a move termed  by India as evidence of US cooperation against terrorism.Much to the jubilation of Delhi, the joint statement was strongly-worded and echoed India’s long-held narrative about Pakistan.

“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 Foreign Office expressed concerns on the tone and toner of the joint communique.

In a briefing earlier this week,the Foreign Office showed Pakistan’s apprehensions about the references to it in the Modi-Trump meet.”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.

The Kashmir valley or the issue of Indian involvement in subversive activities inside Pakistan has not attracted enough buyers in Washington.

In light of the very many foreign policy challenges faced by Pakistan,Nawaz Sharif who also keeps the foreign minister portfolio, this high-level meeting was arranged.The prime minister called upon the diplomatic corps to counter anti-Pakistani campaign launched by India.Despite efforts,Pakistan has been unable to muster support against India in Washington, which continues to pander to the viewpoints of Delhi and Kabul.

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

However,the US today clarified that it still considers Kashmir a disputed territory.“Our policy on Kashmir has not changed,” said a State Department spokesperson when asked if the designation indicated a change in the US policy on Kashmir.

The Kashmir valley or the issue of Indian involvement in subversive activities inside Pakistan has not attracted enough buyers in Washington.If anything,the Trump administration is all in readiness to ramp-up pressure on Pakistan for its alleged support to terrorist outfits in Afghanistan.

Read more:Of courtships and divorces: Trump segmenting his policy for India and…

However,the US today clarified that it still considers Kashmir a disputed territory.“Our policy on Kashmir has not changed,” said a State Department spokesperson when asked if the designation indicated a change in the US policy on Kashmir.Ostensibly,this measured statement is an attempt to show that the US is against terrorism and not the peaceful resolution of the dispute.

This could assuage some concerns of Pakistan, which according to a few voices in Washington is still needed by the US to fight and terminate the war in Afghanistan, which is becoming a real challenge for US policy-makers and forces.

The crutch

An official statement – released by the PM’s Office after the meeting – said Nawaz expressed satisfaction over the status of strategic partnership with China and the launch of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), reviving the strategic dialogue with the US, strong relations with Russia, major improvement in relations with Central Asia culminating in Pakistan’s membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

China has thus tried to go the extra mile in convincing detractors and opponents in India and the US about CPEC. Besides,it took exceptions to the recent statement released after the meeting between Modi and Trump.

Pakistan and China, much to the dislike of the Washington-Delhi are establishing a very strong economic relationship.Pakistan has become central to China’s OBOR vision with the highly-touted CPEC being its flagship project.Over the past few months,China has batted for Pakistan owing to its importance for China’s expansion in the region and beyond.The corridor provides China with a channel to spread its trade tentacles in the region and beyond, that too at a much lesser cost and time.

Read more:CPEC does not change Beijing’s position on “Kashmir” – China Clarifies…

China has thus tried to go the extra mile in convincing detractors and opponents in India and the US about CPEC. Besides,it took exceptions to the recent statement released after the meeting between Modi and Trump.“China thinks that the international cooperation against terrorism should be enhanced and stepped up. The international community should give full recognition and affirmation to Pakistan’s efforts in this regard,”Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing earlier this week.

Read more:Beijing derides chatter of establishing military bases in Pakistan

The flaring-up of the Sino-Indo border situation, according to many is on behest of the confidence that India has derived from Modi’s Washington visit.As the US tries to cut China to size by rousing up India, Pakistan and China are all-set to tread together.

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