‘Tillerson’s visit to Pak to implement Trump’s South Asia strategy

Washington: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is visiting Islamabad to implement the South Asia strategy of President Donald Trump, a State Department official has said while he urged Pakistan to take “decisive action” against militant groups based inside the country.

“We are breaking from the status quo on US-Pakistan relations and the Secretary by going to Pakistan will be implementing the president’s strategy,” a State Department official told reporters yesterday after Tillerson delivered a major India-policy speech.

Tillerson is scheduled to travel to India next week. He would also visit Pakistan. However, the dates of his Islamabad visit have not been announced.

“America’s relationship with India do not come at the expense of Pakistan or vice versa. The things that the US can do to help alleviate some of the tensions on Pakistan’s borders around Afghanistan and in India,” the official said.

“When the president gave his remarks about Pakistan, he talked about a lot of the positive aspects of the bilateral relationship. US and Pakistani military have worked together against common enemies,” the official added.

“We recently had the rescue of the Coleman family,” the official said, noting that people of Pakistan have suffered from terrorism and extremism. At the same time, Pakistan has to take decisive action against militant groups based in Pakistan that are a threat to the region,” the official said.

“I think that we are having much more serious conversations about being a partner for achieving our priorities in the region,” the official said responding to a question.

“We have many common interests and common enemies in the region when it comes to our bilateral discussions with Pakistan which was with the Secretary (of State) will be talking about (during his Pakistan trip),” the official said.

“But we have said that it is time for Pakistan to demonstrate fully that it is willing to assist the United States in its core counter terrorism goals in the region. And the Secretary will be discussing that on his trip,” the State Department official said.

Tillerson’s expected visit to Pakistan is not related to the release of Coleman family.

“This trip is not the consequence of that. The Secretary was intensely involved in the liberation of the Coleman family from Pakistan,” the official said.