India is Pakistan's primary strategic interest in Afghanistan
“The tenet to remember here is that the primary strategic interests of Pakistan is India,” the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said during a Congressional hearing.
“So they view whatever they do in Afghanistan through that lens of their pre-eminent threat and what they're most consumed with is India. So to the extent that they can maintain visibility and influence in Afghanistan, I believe they will continue to do,” he said.
The top US intelligence official was responding to questions from Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee that convened a Congressional hearing on “Current and Future Worldwide Threats".
Clapper conceded Pakistan will take action against terrorists only if they posed threat to its national security and acknowledged that there has been no change in Islamabad’s policy of giving safe haven to the Taliban within its territory.
“I am talking about the Afghan Taliban that they have given sanctuary in… Is there any change in that” Levin asked. “Not basically,” Clapper said.
“Has Pakistan changed its strategic calculation with respect to Afghanistan? And more specifically, is there any change that we have determined in Pakistan's so far unwillingness to deal with the Afghan Taliban, which has been given sanctuary in Pakistan? Is that still their on-the-ground position that they are not going to take on or deal with or put in jeopardy the Afghan Taliban that is, again, inside Pakistan?” Levin asked.
Indian and China on Thursday held their first-ever talks over post-2014 situation in Afghanistan in Beijing.
The Indian side was led by Ministry of External Affairs’ Additional Secretary in-charge of Afghan-Pak region and Iran, Y K Sinha and Luo Zhahohui, head of the Asian Affairs Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry led the Chinese side.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that both sides asserted the need to help Afghanistan “achieve peace, stability, independence and development in cooperation with other countries in the region and the international community, as well as support the country’s reconciliation process.”
Noting that Afghanistan’s situation is “closely related to regional security and stability”, Hua said that talks between India and China will be “conducive for enhancing mutual coordination and cooperation.” He added that both sides will continue to discuss the matter.
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