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The Trump administration has told the US lawmakers that defense ties with India are indispensable to the bilateral ties between the two countries, for the US wants it to be “net” security provider in the Indo-Pacific region.

The administration told the Congress that it strongly supports the transfers of F18 and F16 fighter jets to that country. This comes at a time when the US has formally, much to the chagrin of Islamabad and Beijing, has called upon India to play a vital role in the Afghan theater.

The US can do well with a conflict, albeit limited between India and Pakistan as it is hard-pressed for options to compel and deter Pakistan

“The reason why defence cooperation with India is so vital to US interests is because we need India to be a net security provider in the Indo-Pacific, a region that serves as the fulcrum of global trade and commerce, with nearly half of the world’s 90,000 commercial vessels – many sailing under the US flag, and two-thirds of traded oil travelling through the region,” Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary of state for the South and Central Asian Affairs told a Congressional subcommittee in a written testimony.

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Though she did not mention South Asia or Afghanistan in particular, the statement will be seen with skepticism in light of the recently-announced South Asia policy. “Working with like-minded partners, India has the strategic and economic potential to uphold the international order that has served so much of humanity over the past seven decades. The investments we make in our security partnership now will pay dividends for decades to come,” she said.

India a victim of terrorism 

General Rawat, the Indian COAS asked his Army to prepare for a simultaneous war with Pakistan and China. While the GOC-C of the Northern Command, Lt Gen Anbu warned that his forces would breach the LoC

Wells while reiterating the strength of ties between the two countries said that both are committed to fighting the menace of terrorism. “India is situated in a dangerous neighborhood, where terrorist attacks have killed both Indians and Americans alike. Joint training and capacity building are essential to expanding our CT cooperation,” she said, echoing what President Trump said in his policy speech on 21st August.

The US has time and again shunned Pakistan’s narrative on Kashmir and terrorism and embraced that of India. This statement from Alice Wells is another stamp on earlier US enunciations. The US designated Syed Salahuddin and his organization as a terrorist and terrorist outfit, respectively, giving India a huge boost vis Pakistan.

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Wells said India is among America’s most important strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific region. “In the words of President Trump, the relationship between India and the United States has never been stronger, has never been better,” she said in the testimony. “The President’s first meeting with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi in June set a positive tone and ambitious agenda for strengthening bilateral ties, particularly in the areas of defense, energy, and trade,” she added.

Pakistan has defiantly opposed India’s role in Afghanistan. Wells’ remarks are likely to nullify the assurance that the US envoy to Islamabad gave earlier this month regarding India

At a time when ties between Pakistan and the US are almost at the lowest ebb, this statement will add to mistrust. Pakistan has defiantly opposed India’s role in Afghanistan. Wells’ remarks are likely to nullify the assurance that the US envoy to Islamabad gave earlier this month regarding India.

This statement comes on the heels of two provocative remarks by the high command of the Indian Army. General Rawat, the Indian COAS asked his Army to prepare for a simultaneous war with Pakistan and China. While the GOC-C of the Northern Command, Lt Gen Anbu warned that his forces would breach the LoC.

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At a time when the US only has India which has bought its South Asia policy, it is expected that it will be asked to twist Pakistan. The US can do well with a conflict, albeit limited between India and Pakistan as it is hard-pressed for options to compel and deter Pakistan. Islamabad must be expectant of increased tensions on the eastern border in the days to come.

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