Trump’s AfPak policy

President Donald Trump has reversed many of his predecessor Barak Obama’s policies. The latest change in taking place in US’ Afghanistan-Pakistan policy. Obama had decided to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan gradually. NATO troops were also being withdrawn. Trump, in a policy reversal, has decided to send four thousand more troops to Afghanistan because he thinks that the ‘consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable.’ He has made the leaving of US forces contingent upon Kabul acquiring the strength to secure and ‘build their own and nation and define their own future.’ However, the experience of the last three years – the US started the troops withdrawal process from end-2014 – gives no room for hope that Ashraf Ghani’s government will be able to get the upper hand over the Taliban and the al Qaeda in the foreseeable future. The Taliban has already warned that it will make Afghanistan a ‘graveyard’ for the US. If past experience is any guide, Washington is unlikely to win this war.
At the same time, Trump has sought India’s help in dealing with the Afghanistan situation. He wants greater Indian ‘presence’ in that country. Naturally, it has rattled Pakistan, the more so because he has, simultaneously, turned the heat on Islamabad. He has told Islamabad bluntly that it cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hound. It cannot take large doses of dollar aid from the US and with that money protect and give shelter to the terrorists. He dubbed Pakistan as the ‘heaven` of terrorists and accused it of helping Taliban and other terror outfits. He went to the extent of hinting cutting off of diplomatic relations with Pakistan.
Quite expectedly, China has jumped into Pakistan’s defence. Any strong measures against Islamabad will have an immediate adverse impact on Beijing’s ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has given a clean chit to Pakistan as far as terrorism is concerned. Beijing thinks Pakistan has ‘made great sacrifices and contributions to fighting terrorism’. It was a clear message to USA and India that China supports Pakistan to the hilt. The China-Pakistan axis calls for an adequate response from India on the diplomatic and strategic fronts. It requires courage and skill. India has to defend itself against both Pakistan and China without, in any way, compromising its sovereignty and freedom of formulating and pursuing a foreign policy that is in the best interest of the country.

Friday, 25 August, 2017