Trump tweet signals US efforts to woo India: experts


Activists of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council shout anti-US slogans at a protest in Karachi on January 2, 2018. Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador, an embassy spokesman said January 2, in a rare public rebuke after Donald Trump lashed out at Islamabad with threats to cut aid over "lies" about militancy. / AFP PHOTO / ASIF HASSAN

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/2

The US is wooing India to form an ally for its Indo-Pacific strategy, experts said Tuesday after US President Donald Trump’s blast alleging US aid was repaid by Pakistan with “nothing but lies and deceit.”

Trump tweeted on Monday that “the US has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years,” and had been rewarded with “nothing but lies and deceit.” The US president also pledged such a situation will carry on “no more!”

In a strongly worded response, Khawaja Asif, Pakistan’s foreign minister, said Trump was trying to blame Pakistan for the US failure to win the war in Afghanistan, reported.

The Pakistan side also summoned the US ambassador on Monday to explain the US president’s comments, Reuters reported.

“It is very groundless and unfair for Trump to make such a comment,” Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

“Pakistan’s support for the US in the past 15 years since 9/11 is the very prerequisite conditions for US troops to be able to combat terrorism on the soil of Afghanistan and it stills provides the essential supply line for approximately 15,000 US soldiers based in Afghanistan,” he said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday during a daily press conference that Pakistan has been making huge efforts and sacrifices to combat terrorism, contributing greatly to the international anti-terrorism cause, which deserves affirmation from the international community.

“China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and China is willing to deepen cooperation with Pakistan in all and every field, creating benefits for the people from the two countries,” he said.

Trump’s attack on Pakistan came after a China-Afghanistan-Pakistan foreign ministerial meeting in late December during which diplomats from the three countries agreed to discuss ways to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan.

It could be a desperate move for the US to draw India to its side after realizing China-Pakistan ties have grown stronger than ever after the ministerial meeting, Zhao said. It would lay a foundation for the formation of a potential US-India-Japan-Australia alliance as part of Indo-Pacific strategy, he noted.

Agreeing with Zhao, Qian Feng, a researcher at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies and a senior fellow of Tsinghua University’s National Strategy Institute, told the Global Times that the US used to uphold a balanced South Asia strategy between Pakistan and India.

But the balance has been broken lately as India’s power significantly grows in the region and the US accordingly attaches more value to India in order to contain China, Qian said. Such moves will definitely further push Pakistan to China’s side, Qian said.

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