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Pak will remain key ally of US: experts

delhi Updated: May 04, 2011 23:19 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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The ups and downs apart, Pakistan will remain a strategic partner of the US, Indian government officials said. Authorities here, however, have their eyes set on the situations unfolding in Afghanistan following Osama bin Laden’s killing.

The killing of bin Laden has dented the image of Pakistan's army and intelligence agencies, sources reasoned. Though Islamabad still has a lot of explaining to do, sources feel, Pakistan will remain a strategic partner of the US.

“Nobody except China talks of having friendship with Pakistan. The rest talk of dealing with Pakistan, getting Pakistan on board,” sources explained in a lighter vein, perhaps to emphasis the geographic necessity of US President Barack Obama to have Pakistan on his side to bring the war in Afghanistan to a close.

There are also clamours about hastening the foreign troops' pull out from Afghanistan as the focus is now on the homegrown insurgency than on al Qadea and its foreign fighters.

But, Osama's killing has tossed up concerns for India in Afghanistan, including fear of attempts to change the rules of engagement with the Taliban and any disproportionate role Pakistan would command in it. Besides any role Pakistan could assume in the process, which goes against the red lines drawn by the international community on engaging Taliban, will upset India.

To begin with, government sources said it would be wrong to assume that there would be faster withdrawal of the US and other forces from Afghanistan."Nobody who is committed to Afghanistan would want a precipitous withdrawal of coalition forces," source said.

“The jihadi mindset is not so easily discarded.” India also hopes that the US wouldn't repeat their early mistake of pulling out of Afghanistan after the Soviets exit in the late 1980s. New Delhi firmly holds that for the war on terror to succeed in Afghanistan, the sanctuaries in Pakistan have to be dismantled.