US NSA targets Pakistan, focus on scaling up counter-terror cooperation with India

US National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster is known for his plain-speak. And he did precisely that by sending out a tough message to Pakistan for its sponsorship of cross-border terror, ahead of his visit to New Delhi during which he focused on expanding counter-terror and defence cooperation with India.
In New Delhi, Lieutenant General McMaster held a series of meetings with the top leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, and Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. “NSA McMaster emphasized the importance of the U.S.-India strategic relationship and reaffirmed India’s designation as a Major Defense Partner,” said a statement from the US embassy. “The two sides discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues, including their shared interest in increasing defense and counterterrorism cooperation.”
In Kabul, just before he reached Islamabad, McMaster had some blunt talk for Pakistan. “As all of us have hoped for many, many years, we have hoped that Pakistani leaders will understand that it is in their interest to go after (militant) groups less selectively than they have in the past and the best way to pursue their interest in Afghanistan and elsewhere is through diplomacy and not through the use of proxies that engage in violence,” Mr McMaster told an Afghan news channel in Kabul.
What is equally significant is that he nudged Pakistan to abandon the path of selectively targeting terrorists, a blunt message which found resonance in New Delhi. The US Embassy in Pakistan said as much in a statement that Mr McMaster “stressed the need to confront terrorism in all its forms.”

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Post-surgical strikes against Pakistani terrorists, Modi says India not hungry for land

Days after Indian troops carried out special strikes targeting Pakistani terrorists across LoC, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has underlined that India has never coveted any territory or attacked another country though it made sacrifices for the freedom of others.
“…It is neither hungry for land. But in the two World Wars (in which India had no direct stake), 1.5 lakh Indian soldiers had laid down their lives,” Modi said after inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, a majestic complex dedicated to nearly 27 million Indians living abroad.
“In the last two years, you have seen how the government rescued people from conflict situations, not just Indians but foreigners too,” Mr Modi said while alluding to his government’s rescue missions in conflict zones, including Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Ukraine.
Mr Modi’s remarks were aimed at the international community which has expressed concerns over escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan following the Indian Army’s special operation to target seven terror launch pads across Line of Control, in response to the Uri terror strike perpetrated by Pakistani militants. Read more…

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Bypassing OIC to isolate Pakistan: Ansari to seek support of Nigeria & Mali, says OIC is just another club

India is looking to step up its outreach to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries to muster their support against Pakistan-sponsored terror, with Vice-President Hamid Ansari set to take up the issue with the leaders of Nigeria and Mali. However, even as India ratchets up its ongoing diplomatic campaign to isolate Pakistan in the wake of the Uri terror attack, Mr Ansari sent a subtle but strong message across by underlining that one should not exaggerate the significance of OIC.

Mr Ansari touched down in Abuja on September 26 on a three-day visit to Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populous country. Nigeria rolled out the red carpet to welcome Mr Ansari, with Nigeria’s vice-president Yemi Osinbajo personally receiving him at the Abuja International Airport. Dancers dressed in colourful attire welcomed the Vice-President, the first high-level visit from India in the last nine years since then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Nigeria in 2007.

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India’s response to Uri attack: Strategic patience, not restraint shows the way

The September 18 attack on the Uri military camp, launched by Pakistan-based terrorists, has agitated the entire country and ignited serious, high-decibel debate as to how these repeated provocations need to be handled by the leadership.
Pakistan appears to have hit upon a ‘no cost’ grand strategy which is backed by its nuclear weapons capability with its announced first use policy. The aim, clearly, is to show Prime Minister Modi as a weak leader, to keep India unsettled by negatively impacting its international image and a calculation that the state response to terrorism can widen India’s potential internal fault lines. By applying this strategy, it feels that it has the strategic and tactical initiative for escalation of tension and, indeed, in the bilateral relations as a whole.
Costs for Pakistan can, certainly, be raised. Its grand strategy is anchored in waging an asymmetrical, ‘irregular’ war against India, backed up by its military and nuclear capability: this ‘irregular’ war involves non-uniformed, ‘civilian’ elements trained in subversion and guerrilla warfare in urban areas and the countryside. Conventional military action, as seen in the ‘Operation Parakram’ mobilisation of the Indian troops on the India-Pakistan border after the Parliament attack, cannot be the response.
As it needs to leverage all aspects of a country’s strength, countering asymmetric warfare is a protracted affair and cannot take the form of a short, swift conventional war. Ultimately, it is the strength and resilience of a political system which actually prevails in a war of attrition, against the strategy of ‘death by a thousand cuts’. The answer to our Pakistan dilemma, in short, is not ‘strategic restraint’ but ‘strategic patience’.

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Kashmir terror attack: Building on global solidarity, India gears up to isolate Pakistan

The terror attack on an Army base in Uri in north Kashmir on September 18 has triggered worldwide sympathy and solidarity with India. The attack, which the Indian government believes to be the handiwork of Pakistani militant group Jaish e-Moahmmed and their handlers in the military establishment, has plummeted the India-Pakistan relations to a new low.
As India embarks on a multi-pronged strategy to diplomatically isolate Pakistan in the international arena, New Delhi should leverage expressions of solidarity to press these countries to sanction Pakistan for its brazen use of terrorism as a state policy. The attack has elicited strong condemnation from all P5 countries – permanent members of the UN Security Council – as well as key partners of India, including Japan, Germany and Afghanistan.
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is set to highlight Pakistan’s dubious record in exporting terror and exhort the world leaders to go beyond the comfort zone to sanction and penalise this instigator of world terror. Besides speaking at the UNGA on September 26, Ms Swaraj is also expected to meet her counterparts from several countries and seek their support for countering Pakistan-origin terrorism.
World rallies behind India: Highlights
Here is a brief summary of reactions from key world capitals on the Uri terror attack:

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From China to Laos: Why was Modi targeting Pakistan, ‘exporter of terror,’ in China and Laos?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a new twist to Islamabad’s trade balance with the world, telling the international community with a straight face that Pakistan’s sole competitive advantage lies in exporting terror.
Mr Modi’s unstinting indictment of Pakistan at two back-to-back multilateral summits has taken many by surprise. His remarks at the G20 summit in China and East Asia Summit in Laos, singling out Pakistan’s “sponsorship and export of terror,” were part of an “offensive defence” strategy designed to put a belligerent Islamabad under stress.
Why has Mr Modi, who started his stint in power by inviting Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, along with other SAARC leaders, for his swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi, and followed it up with a surprise trip to Lahore in December last year, has turned up the heat on Islamabad? There is no point in indulging in esoteric speculation; one does not have to look far for reasons for Mr Modi’s vehement Pakistan-bashing. It’s clearly a sense of betrayal and promises not kept.
As he is not going to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this year, PM Modi has leveraged the two multilateral summits to expose Pakistan before the international community and send a strong message to Islamabad that duplicity and deception will not work any longer. Read more…

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A meeting of minds: US backs India against Pakistan-backed terrorism

Marking a meeting of minds on a host of pressing issues, India and the US have decided to step their counter-terror cooperation, with Washington strongly backing India by renewing call to Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai and Pathankot terror attacks to justice.
The second Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between India and the US ended on a high note, with both sides upbeat about the blossoming of bilateral relations in all spheres and underlining their resolve to take this strategic partnership to new heights.
The US’ robust backing on India’s concerns over Pakistan-sponsored terrorism was music to New Delhi’s ears. “The US supports all efforts to brining the perpetrators of the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to justice… terror is terror no matter where it comes from,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry in New Delhi on August 30, after wide-ranging talks with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The two strategic partners also reiterated their resolve to intensify counter-terror cooperation. They will intensify intelligence sharing and specifically “work for the early operationalization of an agreement on exchanging information on known or suspected terrorists,” said Mrs Swaraj. The two sides also signed a framework agreement on combating cyber crimes.

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