President Donald Trump has made it clear to Pakistan that the US expects Islamabad to take steps to end the role of “non-state actors”, a senior State Department official said.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asia Region Alice Wells, briefing reporters on Friday on US priorities in the South and Central Asia Region, cited Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s statement that in his country non-state actors and extremist groups have no role. Responding to a question on India-Pakistan ties, Wells said there are issues between them that affect regional stability.
“We acknowledge that, and we continue to support any dialogue efforts between the governments that can lead to greater stability and reducing of tensions but at the same time President Trump has made it clear that we do expect and we do have high aspirations for Pakistan to take steps to end the role of non-state actors,” she said. When asked if the US will play a role in bringing New Delhi and Islamabad together for a dialogue to resolve their differences, Wells said it is for the countries to decide.
“America is always willing to play a role that’s asked of us by the countries of the region. We have two strategies focused on the region, the South Asia strategy as well as the Indo-Pacific strategy. And both involve strong and close bilateral and regional partnerships,” she said. When told that Pakistan has concerns about security threat to it due to the US-India strategic alliance, Wells said, “I don’t accept the premise of the question because I don’t see a strong US-India strategic partnership being at the expense of or as a threat to Pakistan.”
She said the US-India strategic partnership is a global one, “a great deal of the focus has been how to build out a relationship towards the East, again dealing with the necessity of ensuring that the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open.” She underscored that US and Indian efforts to provide regional stability and to enhance economic growth are a “net-plus for everyone in the region including Pakistan,” adding that Washington’s relationship with Islamabad stands on its own.