Briefing the press before the talks, senior US officials said Pakistan will have to “change its policies” towards terrorism and militancy if it wants to rebuild a productive relationship with America.
Written by C. Raja Mohan
Today’s talks between US President Donald Trump and a Pakistani delegation at the White House could mark an important inflexion point in the evolution of India’s north-western frontiers. As Trump seeks to end America’s longest war ever in Afghanistan, Pakistan has an opportunity to reset its troubled relationship with the US, rearrange its regional policy and seek reconciliation with Kabul and Delhi.
Although Pakistan’s leadership has given verbal support to these goals for some time now, Washington, Kabul and Delhi have all been sceptical about Islamabad’s willingness to match words with deeds. In the recent past, Pakistan has certainly teased the US and the South Asian neighbours with some steps — like facilitating talks between Washington and the Taliban and detaining Hafiz Saeed of the LeT.
Briefing the press before the talks, senior US officials said Pakistan will have to “change its policies” towards terrorism and militancy if it wants to rebuild a productive relationship with America. While noting some of the steps that Pakistan has already taken, US officials say these must be made “irreversible and sustainable”.
In Delhi, though, there is entrenched cynicism about the prospects for genuine change in Pakistan. There is also a persistent fear that the US will once again be taken in by Pakistan’s political dissimulation. That is not surprising, given India’s historic experience. Yet, Delhi needs to keep an open mind on the new phase of engagement between the US and Pakistan.