Priorities, nature of ties with India, Pakistan different: White House

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Asserting that the US’ ties with India and Pakistan were not a ‘zero-sum game’, the White House has said that the Trump administration’s priorities and the nature of relationship with India and Pakistan were different.

“We seek to have an effective partnership with each country. With India, we’re building that strategic partnership. We see India’s role and influence growing. We like to encourage that trend. So, we’re looking for ways to cooperate on our mutual interests,” a senior administration official told reporters at a news conference in Washington.

“With Pakistan, we seek to have a productive partnership working together. But frankly, the priorities are different, and the nature of the relationships are different. So, I think that we would like to move forward with both countries. We realise that the pace and scope of that relationship is going to be different in each case,” the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said in response to a question on concerns in Pakistan with regard to increasing ties with India.

“I want to make the point here that US relationships with India and Pakistan really stand on their own merits and terms. We don’t see a zero-sum relationship when it comes to the US relationship with Pakistan and the US relationship with India. We’re certainly eager to deepen the strategic partnership with India,” he said.

“We see this as the US and India have mutual security interests that they want to advance, and we believe that the defence sales that are being discussed will help advance those,” the official said.

Meanwhile, a senior Trump official on Friday said that India and the US have a common objective in Afghanistan, and the two countries could increase their cooperation to enhance the Afghan economy. “India has played a positive role in Afghanistan, the US believes. They have pledged over USD 3 billion in assistance to Afghanistan. The Afghans appreciate the kind of support and assistance that the Indians have provided-I’m not just talking about the government, I’m talking about the population,” the official told reporters.

“When they’ve done polling, there’s a very positive feeling toward India and the kind of assistance – they’ve assisted in the education sector, the health sector. They built the parliament building. They support democracy, democratic development there,” he said, listing out the developmental activities by India in the war-torn country.