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US to pressurise Pak to shift troops to Western border

world Updated: May 05, 2009 23:15 IST

The US is expected to mount "intense pressure" on Pakistan to "shift its strategic focus" from its eastern border with India by redeploying "much of over 250,000 troops" to the frontier with Afghanistan to carry out counterinsurgency operations against Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

At the trilateral meeting between presidents of the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan in Washington, Barack Obama is also expected to ask Islamabad to grant "major concessions to India", including a trade corridor to Afghanistan through the Wagah land border, according to a media report on Tuesday.

"The US, which is eying a dominant role for India in the region, wants Pakistan to provide an overland trade route for Indian exports to Afghanistan," a diplomatic source told the Dawn newspaper on the eve of trilateral summit involving Obama, and his Afghan and Pakistan counterpart Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari respectively.

The Obama administration will also reiterate its demand that Pakistani institutions end their "alleged hobnobbing" with jehadis, who have long been seen by Islamabad as "strategic assets", the report said.

However, the Pakistani leadership has been opposing any concession for India, saying it would not be possible without a quid pro quo, particularly on the Kashmir issue.

"It is very significant for Pakistan. Traditionally it was our bargaining chip for the Indians to move on Kashmir. Now they want us to do something without any movement, and are browbeating us," an official was quoted as saying.