Modi hug needed? After Donald Trump tweet, Nikki Haley says US needs India’s help to check Pakistan

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New Delhi | Published: October 18, 2017 12:23:59 PM

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Tuesday said India can help America in keeping an eye on Pakistan and ensure that it is held accountable for giving safe havens to terrorists.

nikki haley, donald trump, us, pakistan terrorism, narendra modi, rahul gandhi, trump tweet on pakistanUS Ambasador to the UN Nikki Haley (Reuters)

Days after the US President Donald Trump’s tweet on Pakistan allowed the opposition to take potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Tuesday said India can help America in keeping an eye on Pakistan and ensure that it is held accountable for giving safe havens to terrorists.

Trump had recently tweeted, “Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts.” The tweet came after American citizen Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle along with their three children were rescued from the Haqqanis after an operation by Pakistani forces.

While thanking leaders of Pakistan for “what they’ve been doing”, Trump had said, “I have openly said Pakistan took tremendous advantage of our country for many years, but we’re starting to have a real relationship with Pakistan, and they’re to respect us as a nation again, and so are other nations…They are starting to respect the United States of America again.” He further said that “in this administration, we will call evil by its name”.

Following Trump’s tweet on Pakistan, the opposition in India saw it as a change in the US President’s policy towards Pakistan. “Modi ji quick; looks like President Trump needs another hug,” Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had taunted Modi in a tweet.

However, Haley on Tuesday hinted there was no change in Trump’s stand on Pakistan. She said that India is one of the pillars of Trump’s recent strategy for combating terrorism in Afghanistan and South Asia. “America’s overriding interest in Afghanistan and throughout South Asia are to eliminate terrorist safe havens that threaten us. And to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, we will use all the elements of our national power economic diplomatic and military to pursue these goals,” she was quoted as saying by PTI.

“Critically we will look to our economic and security partnerships with India,” the Indian-origin diplomat said at an event organised by the US India Friendship Council.

Haley further said that President Trump has taken a “tougher approach to Pakistan harbouring terrorists, she said.

“Pakistan has been a partner to the United States at times. We value and respect that. But, we cannot tolerate this government or any other government giving safe haven to terrorists who target Americans. This new approach will require understanding and restraint from both Pakistan and India,” Haley added.

On India, she further said that the US is looking at India to help it more in Afghanistan particularly in economic and development assistance. “We are really going to need India’s help in Afghanistan. They are the good neighbours and partner that we have in the region,” she said.

“So, having them help not only with infrastructure and the aide that they can give towards rebuilding Afghanistan, (They can) also help us to keep an eye on Pakistan,” the US ambassador said, while adding, “We can’t continue to see them harbouring the terrorists. We have to see something change. India is going to witnessing that. India is going to help us with that.”

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