The White House has said that the Trump administration’s priorities and the nature of ties it has with Pakistan and India were different and stressed that the relationship with both countries were not a ‘zero-sum game’, the Hindustan Times reported.
“We seek to have an effective partnership with each country. With India, we’re building that strategic partnership. We see India’s role and influence growing. We like to encourage that trend. So, we’re looking for ways to cooperate on our mutual interests,” said a senior US administration official during a press conference.
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“With Pakistan, we seek to have a productive partnership working together. But frankly, the priorities are different, and the nature of the relationships are different. So, I think that we would like to move forward with both countries. We realise that the pace and scope of that relationship is going to be different in each case,” the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, replied to a question on concerns in Pakistan with regards to increasing ties with India.
Our relationship with Pakistan and India is not a zero-sum game, he said.
“I want to make the point here that the US relationships with India and Pakistan really stand on their own merits and terms. We don’t see a zero-sum relationship when it comes to the US relationship with Pakistan and the US relationship with India. We’re certainly eager to deepen the strategic partnership with India,” he said.
“We are also interested in continuing our cooperation with Pakistan,” the official said adding that the US is concerned about tensions between India and Pakistan.
He said the US would like to see the normalisation of ties between the two neighbours. “We believe it’s in both countries’ interests. It’s in the interests of the region, and even the globe, given that they’re both nuclear-weapon powers,” the official said.
“But we very much encourage India and Pakistan to engage in a direct bilateral dialogue aimed at reducing those tensions,” the official said while denying reports that sale of high-tech defence items to India would have any adverse impact on Pakistan.
“The US also has a defence partnership with Pakistan. We do cooperate with Pakistan on some security and defence and counter-terrorism issues. So again, we don’t see this as a zero-sum game,” the official added.
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“We see this as the US and India having mutual security interests that they want to advance, and we believe that the defence sales that are being discussed will help advance those. It is not about Pakistan.”
“(With regards to) the defence deals – we do take into account the regional situation. We very much want to avoid a situation that escalates tensions between the two,” he said.
“So these issues are taken into account. But some of the defence systems that we’re talking about we don’t believe impact Pakistan. They may be different systems that we are transferring to Pakistan, but we don’t believe they represent a threat to Pakistan,” said the White House official.
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