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‘No convergence of views between India and US on Pakistan’

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Washington: Even as India and the US are forging a strategic partnership and working hand in hand in the Asia Pacific region, there is no convergence of views between the two countries on Pakistan, a group of Indian experts said today.

The group of experts, comprising of several retired top military officers and diplomats from the New Delhi-based Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), also rued that the United States is the not paying enough attention to India’s interest in the region, be it the border disputes with China or terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

“We have a convergence of a vision (in our relationship). It is more pronounced in Asia Pacific region. But westward there is dissimilarities when it comes to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan is the hub of terrorism in the world,” Gen (rtd) N C Vij, director VIF, said in his address to the Atlantic Council, a top American think-tank.

Joining the debate, former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal said for India it is difficult to understand why the US has a “different way” of handling Chinese actions in the Asia Pacific and South Asia.

“What is troublesome is that Pakistan has managed to fool and bluff the Chinese as they have done to the Americans,” said Lt Gen (rtd) R K Sawhney, dean center for defence studies VIF, as he lashed out at Pakistan for continuing to be safe haven for terrorists. The US is not doing much about it, he said.

A delegation of VIF is currently visiting US. It is expected to meet US lawmakers and think tanks. “Why is the US feeling so helpless when it comes to dealing with Pakistan? Why it is not imposing sanctions on Pakistan.

At least identify those who were responsible for sheltering Osama bin Laden and sanction them. You would see the difference,” Sibal said.

The former top Indian diplomat was highly critical of the recent US-Pakistan joint statement during the visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in October which mentioned India and Kashmir.

“It has been conveyed to us (by the United States)… there is a big gap in our strategic vision when it comes to Pakistan,” Sibal said.

PTI