1. Donald Trump to finalise South Asia strategy on relationship with India, Afghanistan, Pakistan next week

Donald Trump to finalise South Asia strategy on relationship with India, Afghanistan, Pakistan next week

United States President Donald Trump and his national security team are likely to hold a meeting next week to finalise South Asia strategy.

By: | Washington | Updated: July 16, 2017 7:16 AM
trump, donald trump, south asia policy, donald trump, united states, us president donald trump, world news US President Donald Trump (Reuters)

United States President Donald Trump and his national security team are likely to hold a meeting next week to finalise South Asia strategy. According to CNN, President Donald Trump and his national security team are likely to meet next week to discuss their strategy on their relationship with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The meeting would be taking place in the backdrop of the fact that after the passage of the National Defence Authorization Act for 2017 by the US Congress, it has become difficult for Pakistan to get the US funding in the name of fight against terror.

It means that before releasing funds to Pakistan, the US Secretary of Defense will have to certify that Pakistan is not providing military, financial, or logistical support to any individuals designated by the U.S. as a terrorist operating in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Though the current limitations on military reimbursement funding to Pakistan only apply to terrorist group: the Haqqani Network, but a sense is building in Washington that Pakistan is not an honest US ally in fight against terror. The CNN report said that an official in the Trump administration suggested that the US should let go of the “carrot” approach and resort to the “stick” approach, which includes cutting US assistance to Pakistan and bolstering security relations with India.

The US Congress has already asked the Department of Defence and State Department to take specified actions to increase defense and security cooperation with India.

Republican Congressman Ted Poe, who proposed Pak amendments in the Congress, has been vocal against Pakistan’s dubious anti-terror policy.

After the passage of the National Defence Authorization Act for 2017, Poe tweeted: “Today, Congress took a step forward to end Pakistan’s betrayal of the US with the addition of an additional certification requirement.”

Poe, who is a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation & Trade, along with Democrat Congressman Rick Nolan in January introduced the bipartisan bill seeking to revoke Pakistan’s status as a major non-Nato ally (MNNA), which was granted in 2004 by then US President George W Bush.

They had argued that since Pakistan has failed to effectively fight terrorism, it no longer deserves US economic and military assistance. The Trump regime has toughened its stance against Pakistan. Just hours ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on June 26, the U.S. Department of State designated Hizbul Chief Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin, as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’.

The announcement came as a big blow for Pakistan, which described as “completely unjustified” the US designation of Salahuddin as a global terrorist. Salahuddin is based in Pakistan.

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On the Afghanistan front; Trump, Defence Secretary James Mattis and other security officials would also discussing the possibility of sending more troops to Afghanistan, strategies to eliminate the ISIS.

A key element of these discussions will be to discuss if the US want to add more troops in Afghanistan to the 8000 already there. People within the administration suggested that adding more troops might be a bad idea as extra troops won’t improve the ability of Afghan forces to challenge the Taliban and fight ISIS, reports CNN.

Although Mattis has been given the authority to determine the number of troops he needs, he’d need Trump’s signature to deploy the troops. Lately, he’s been under pressure to deliver in Afghanistan. In a statement last month, he said, “We are not winning in Afghanistan right now. And we will correct this as soon as possible.”

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