WASHINGTON: A top US defence official has suggested that over time Islamabad “flirted” with terrorism as state policy.
“I was clear in Pakistan that the principal threat to Pakistan is terrorism, not its neighbours,” deputy defence secretary Ashton Carter, who visited India, Pakistan and Afghanistan recently, said on Monday at a Washington think-tank.
“The government of Pakistan has flirted over time with using terrorism as an instrument of state policy, and it’s coming to the realisation that terrorism’s a boomerang and it comes back on you when you try to use it for your own purposes,” he said.
“I was honest with my hosts in Islamabad in terms of how Pakistan must achieve peaceful relations with India on the east in order to reap the benefits of cross-border trade, if it’s truly to develop its economy,” he said at the Centre for American Progress.
“And it needs a secure and stable Afghanistan on the west for the same reason,” Carter said.
The official said he “was equally frank with my interlocutors in Delhi that the US supports Pakistani efforts to improve their bilateral relations and hope Delhi will reciprocate”.
Carter said he had also told the Indians of US government’s appreciation for their support to Afghanistan “in the realms of humanitarian and development aid and their efforts to train the Afghan security forces in India”.