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Trump Wants India to Help More in Afghanistan

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Trump Wants India to Help More in Afghanistan

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Criticize Pakistan for harboring terrorists

US President Donald Trump has appreciated India’s contribution to stability in Afghanistan and desired that New Delhi should extend more economic assistance for pursuing “shared objectives” for peace and security in South Asia and broader “Indo-Pacific region.”

While addressing the nation on new US strategy on Afghanistan on Monday evening, Trump referred to India saying “Another part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India—the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the US.”

He further said “We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the US, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development.  We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.”

While referring to Washington’s new approach towards Pakistan, President Trump said that our new strategy is to change approach on how to deal with Pakistan. He said, “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.  Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan.  It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.”

Further elaborating his opinion on Pakistan, Trump said, “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.  But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.” He further said that, “No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials.  It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace,” he said.

President Trump said that “American people are weary of (Afghanistan) war without victory—the longest war in American history—17 years. I share the American people’s frustration.” After studying “in great detail” and several meetings “over many months” I have arrived at “three fundamental conclusions.”

Describing his administration’s conclusions, President said that our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome with an aim of fight to achieve victory, avoid hasty withdrawal by not repeating the mistakes committed in Iraq, and face the immense security threats posed by “20 US designated foreign terrorist organizations which are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

He prescribed the three point solution for Afghanistan crisis. The policy shift suggested by the President Donald Trump included “shift from time based approach to one based on conditions.”  He said that there would be “No talk about numbers of the troops or our plans for further military activities. Conditions on the ground—not arbitrary timetables—will guide our strategy from now on.”

He also suggested “integration of all institutions of American power—diplomatic, economic and military—toward a successful outcome” in Afghanistan.

However, Trump indicated of possible political settlement “that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but nobody knows if or when that will ever happen.” He also indicated that US was working on a limited agenda saying, “We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists.”

Washington had, during Barak Obama administration, suggested peace talks with Taliban for resolving the crisis. Their representative office was set up in Doha, the capital of Qatar. However, the proposal was suddenly dropped because of some diplomatic reservations.

President Trump said, “Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace.  We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live, or how to govern their own complex society.”

Moreover Trump favored to extend more decision making power to the commanders on the ground. He argued to “expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan.” He said “Micromanagement from Washington, D.C. does not win battles.”

US president summed up his Afghan policy saying, “From now on, victory will have a clear definition:  attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.”

However, some of his observations were driven by his political compulsions. He observed that “9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a (Taliban) government  that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11th.” He further said, “In 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq. As a result, our hard won gains slipped back into hands of terrorist enemies.”

Rather it would be worth to recall that Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not oblige US “by requesting to extend their stay” in that country. He had clearly said that Iraqi parliament was divided on the subject.

In fact Iraq was the first country in US military overseas interventions where they were forced to leave on the first departure schedule.

President Donald Trump also did not choose to speak about the role of Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries in spreading terrorism. He has recently visited Saudi Arabia where more than 50 heads of Arab and Muslim countries were invited. During the visit Trump had also signed $ 110 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia.

Recently, Mutlaq Majed al-Qahtani, the special envoy of Qatari Foreign Minister, in an opinion piece in Wall Street Journal recalled that “Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis. Thousands of Saudi citizens have  taken up arms to join Islamic State (IS) and other radical groups.”

The Qatari diplomat also elaborated UAE’s role in supporting terrorism by saying, “Two Emiratis participated in the September 11 hijackings, and the staff report to the 9/11 Commission revealed that much of the funding for the attacks flowed through the UAE, which was a world hub for money laundering.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda says statements on reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have no ground

Devananda told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu as elections are taking place in India.

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda has said the statements from some political leaders in India on reclaiming Katchatheevu from the island nation have no ground. He told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about the strategic island as elections are taking place in India.

The Sri Lankan Minister said he thought India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area. According to the 1974 agreement, Devananda said Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen can go fishing in the territorial waters of both countries until the pact was reviewed and amended in 1976.

The amended agreement resulted in fishermen from both countries being barred from fishing in neighboring waters. India’s ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday steered clear of the row surrounding Katchatheevu island. To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu issue, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reffered to External affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comments on the matter.

He said he would like to talk about the issue that has been raised. He added the External Affairs minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat and has clarified all the issues. He said everyone should look into the press engagements and they would find the answers to their questions there.

The remarks from Devananda, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came days after the Narendra Modi government accused the Congress and its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu of overlooking national interests by handing over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP has also been slamming the 2 parties for not ensuring the rights of the fishermen wanting to fish in waters around the island.

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US reiterates its call for fair, transparent, legal process for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, speaks on Congress frozen accounts

The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections.

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A day after India summoned an US diplomat over their remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor policy case, the US reiterated its call for fair, transparent, timely legal processes on Wednesday.

Responding to questions on India summoning Gloria Berbena, the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that they will continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Notably, the meeting at the foreign ministry’s South Block office lasted nearly 40 minutes yesterday with India objecting strongly to the US remarks on the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal.

Matthew Miller also responded to a question on the Congress party’s frozen bank accounts. The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections. He added that the US encourages fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of the issues.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested last week by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection to the Delhi liquor policy scam. Earlier, AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Sanjay Singh were arrested in the same case.

The External Affairs Ministry had earlier stated that states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others, and this responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies, adding that it could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents.

The Ministry further emphasized that India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. It mentioned that casting aspersions on India’s legal procedure is unwarranted.

The United State’s remarks followed days after Germany’s Foreign Office stressed that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is entitled to a fair and impartial trial. The Indian government labelled their remark as blatant interference in internal matters.

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5 Chinese nationals killed in suicide bomb attack in Pakistan

This is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

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Nearly five Chinese nationals were killed in an explosion during an attack on their convoy by a suicide bomber in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday. Reportedly, the suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers travelling from Islamabad to their camp in Dasu, situated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Regional police chief Mohammad Ali Gandapur said that five Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver were killed in the attack. As yet, none has claimed responsibility for the attack. Bisham Station House Officer (SHO) Bakht Zahir asserted that the incident was a suicide blast and the authorities concerned were collecting the evidence.

The Station House Officer further added that security arrangements were tightened at the spot and the bodies were being shifted to a hospital. He added that they will investigate from where and how the vehicle of a suicide bomber came and how it happened. Notably, this is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

Previously, two attacks hit an airbase and a strategic port in the southwest province of Balochistan where China is investing billions in infrastructure projects. Several Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have for multiple years been working on hydroelectric projects as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative in the western province of Khyber-Paktunkhwa.

Notably, Dasu is home to a significant dam project, has been a target of previous attacks. Earlier in 2021, the attack in Dasu resulted in the deaths of nine Chinese nationals, along with two Pakistani children. The incident occured when a bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the Dasu Hydropower Project site was targeted.

There was confusion surrounding the nature of the attack initially, with some reports suggesting it was a bus accident. Nonetheless, subsequent investigations revealed that it was indeed a terrorist attack. The bus was hit by a blast, leading it to plunge into a ravine.

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