US should respect Pakistans need for political space, says expert on South Asia

April 5th, 2008 - 3:48 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Apr 5 (ANI): Noted South Asia expert Teresita C Schaffer has said that the US should respect Pakistans need for political space in the aftermath of a new government coming in place in Islamabad, especially when it was determined to convince its people that it was defending its own interests rather than following a US lead.

Along with Raja Karthikeya Gundu, Teresita writes in the current issue of South Asia Monitor that a fine balancing act was needed between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan to ensure Kabuls smooth transition, peace, and economic growth.
The duo notes that while Pakistan charges Afghanistans government with turning a blind eye to the arms and drug trade, Afghanistan charges that the Taliban operate out of safe havens in Pakistan.

About India, they write that it has wanted to protect and expand its stake in Afghanistan in order to prevent the consolidation of an anti-India bloc extending westward from Pakistan.

According to them, India took an active part in Afghanistans reconstruction efforts and opened four consulates in the country, and also expanded its relations with the Central Asian countries to Afghanistans north and west, a move that has sparked some of the competitive impulses within Pakistan.

They attributed Indias active part to New Delhis closer ties with the former Northern Alliance members of Karzais government.

This Indian presence stoked Pakistans fears. Pakistan charged that the Indian consulates provide cover for Indian intelligence agencies to run covert operations against Pakistan. Pakistan has accused India of operating in collusion with the Afghan Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Afghan intelligence service to fund and arm rebels of the Baloch Liberation Army who are carrying out a separatist insurgency in Pakistan. Pakistans fears of encirclement by India have been compounded by the Indian Air Forces new facility in Farkhor, Tajikistan, they write further. (ANI)

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