US needs to convince India it can keep Pakistan in check: Stratfor

April 7th, 2009 - 10:43 am ICT by IANS  

Taliban By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 7 (IANS) As the United States tries to sell Pakistan its plan of negotiating with Afghan Taliban, it will have to assure India that Washington can keep Pakistan and its militants in check, says a leading US think tank.

“For the United States to make any headway getting Pakistan on board with its plan, it needs to ensure that Islamabad does not get distracted by its primary security threat: India,” Stratfor, a global intelligence company, said in an analysis as two senior US officials headed to the region.

US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen arrive in New Delhi Tuesday for high-level talks on President Barack Obama’s Af-Pak strategy after Visiting Islamabad and Kabul.

The Indians are well aware that the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) “is not prepared to cut ties with its array of militant proxies, particularly those the ISI has cultivated to focus attacks on India in the name of Kashmir,” Stratfor noted.

“As the ISI tries to rein in those militant proxies that have slipped from Islamabad’s grasp, it will likely try to regain their support by redirecting their attention away from Pakistan and toward India, an enemy on which both Islamabad and the militants can agree. As a result, it is likely India will come under attack again,” it said.

Meanwhile, Washington needs Islamabad to focus on its western border with Afghanistan, not on India, the think tank said as “the last thing the United States needs is for India and Pakistan to come to blows again.

“To dodge this outcome, Holbrooke and Mullen will have to do their best to convince New Delhi that Washington can keep the Pakistanis in check,” it concluded.

Holbrooke and Mullen were in Islamabad Monday for talks with senior Pakistani leaders, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani and Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI. They were in Kabul the previous day.

The trip is one of many US visits to the region aimed at turning around Washington’s fortunes in Afghanistan, where Obama intends to pursue a strategy of bringing “reconcilable” Taliban militants into the Afghan political fold. To give this strategy even a remote chance of success, Washington needs to get Pakistan on board, Stratfor said.

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