US treads difficult path in South Asia

Revisiting ties with Islamabad, downplaying areas of friction with India not US’s choice but compulsion, analysts say 

US treads difficult path in South Asia

The U.S. is treading a rocky path in South Asia, despite striking a conciliatory tone in recent visits by top American officials to India and Pakistan.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, who visited Pakistan earlier this week to “reset” the otherwise strained bilateral relations, tried to woo Islamabad to use its so-called influence to bring Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table in war-struck Afghanistan.

In the second leg, Pompeo together with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed a much-delayed military communications agreement with India -- another sign of Washington’s longtime desire to contain China’s ambitions in Asia.

The agreement will allow New Delhi to receive military-grade communications equipment from Washington and permit the exchange of real-time encrypted information on platforms used by the two armed forces.

The two top officials of Donald Trump’s administration downplayed areas of tension with India -- buying oil from Iran and a missile defense system from Russia -- ignoring repeated sanction warnings from the U.S.

For many, revisiting of ties with Islamabad and downplaying areas of friction with India is not Washington’s choice but a “compulsion.”

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Jere Van Dyk, a New York-based journalist and author of best seller "In Afghanistan: An American Odyssey" said: “The U.S. is concerned that Pakistan is becoming almost a satellite or a colony of China and the U.S., by drawing closer to India, is showing its displeasure.

Dyk said the U.S. is also trying to extract itself from Afghanistan and needs Pakistan's help and wants to put pressure on it indirectly.

“The U.S. feels closer in many ways to Pakistan, because of their shared role in containing Communist Soviet Union during the Cold War[…],” he added.

According to Dyk, Washington will not be happy that India has purchased oil from Iran but is aware that China, Pakistan and India need oil and natural gas to fuel their growing economies which Russia and Iran have in abundance.

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