Price for nurturing terror


Nemesis may finally be catching up with Pakistan for pursuing a dangerously duplicitous policy on terrorism. In the strongest ever rebuff, the United States has suspended its $255 million military aid to Pakistan for continuing to nurture terror outfits operating from its soil. This is a tight slap on the face of Islamabad and a growing sign of its international isolation on the issue of terrorism. The suspension of American aid comes as a vindication of India’s long-held position that Pakistan has been using terrorism as an instrument of its state policy. The confirmation of the far-reaching move came from the White House soon after President Donald Trump made strong remarks against Pakistan, accusing it of ‘giving nothing to the US but lies and deceit’ in return for the $33 billion aid over the last 15 years. Trump began the New Year with a strongly-worded tweet denouncing Islamabad for providing safe haven to terrorists and displaying duplicity on the issue of fighting terror. The tweet, which spoke about how America had ‘foolishly’ given billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan over years, triggered a storm in Islamabad with authorities going into a huddle to formulate their response to a virtual carpet bombing from a frustrated Trump administration. Though Pakistan hit back saying it had cooperated with the US as an anti-terror ally and helped in decimating Al-Qaeda over the years, the response is not convincing because it does not reflect the ground realities.

The fact that a majority of terror strikes anywhere in the world have a Pakistani connection shows how Islamabad has emerged as Ivy League of global terrorism. For decades, its military establishment has been nurturing a string of terror outfits operating against India in the name of non-state actors. It is the first time that the US has taken a decisive action by halting the military aid till Pakistan takes credible steps against terrorists and militants on its soil. This move will push Pakistan further into Chinese embrace and make it a client state of the Asian giant whose foreign policy is almost entirely dictated by its economic interests. China has been flexing its muscles and displaying an unabashed territorial aggression in the region. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has already given Beijing a great strategic advantage and in the absence of American aid, the Pakistani dependence on China will only increase further in the days ahead. Now that there is a growing convergence of interests between India and the US on the issue of fighting terrorism, a concerted international campaign needs to be mounted to declare Pakistan a state sponsor of terror. On the economic front, India should revoke the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status to Pakistan.