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Biden administration appears to strengthen US-Pakistan army ties

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A Reuters file picture of US Normal Llyod J Austin.
  • Underneath Joe Biden, Pakistan-US army ties to be strengthened.
  • Incoming US secretary of defence to concentrate on Pakistan’s participation in IMET.
  • Secretary of State nominee to overview US-Taliban deal.

With Joe Biden within the White Home, america will proceed constructing relationships with Pakistan’s army that present openings for Islamabad and Washington to cooperate on key points. 

This was acknowledged by Normal Lloyd J Austin throughout his affirmation listening to for the submit of secretary of defence earlier than america Senate Armed Companies Committee on Tuesday.

Austin recognised Pakistan as a vital associate in peace course of in Afghanistan. “If confirmed, I will encourage a regional approach that garners support from neighbours like Pakistan, while also deterring regional actors, from serving as spoilers to the Afghanistan peace process.”

The previous US common stated he would concentrate on shared pursuits together with coaching future Pakistan army leaders by means of the usage of Worldwide Army Schooling and Coaching (IMET) funds. 

“Pakistan will play an important role in any political settlement in Afghanistan,” he continued. “We also need to work with Pakistan to defeat al Qaeda and the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) and to enhance regional stability.”

Austin stated Pakistan has taken “constructive steps to meet US requests in support of the Afghanistan peace process”.

“Pakistan has also taken steps against anti-Indian groups, such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM),” he informed the committee. “Many factors in addition to the security assistance suspension may impact Pakistan’s cooperation, including Afghanistan negotiations and the dangerous escalation following the Pulwama terrorist attack.”

The defence nominee stated Pakistan is a sovereign nation and he would press Islamabad to “prevent its territory from being used as a sanctuary for militants and violent extremist organisations.”

“Continuing to build relationships with Pakistan’s military will provide openings for the United States and Pakistan to cooperate on key issues,” he concluded. 

Learn extra: Joe Biden to be sworn in as US president immediately

US-Pakistan army ties

Administered by the US Acknowledged Division, the IMET is a small side of US safety assist programmes price round $2 billion. The programme was abruptly suspended by Trump in January 2018 in a bid to compel Islamabad to launch a crackdown towards militants. 

That call prompted cancellation of 66 slots put aside for Pakistani army officers on the IMET programme in August 2018. 

In December 2019, Trump administration accredited resumption of the army coaching and training programme. On January 4, 2020, the US president signed off on the choice to “strengthen military-to-military cooperation between US and Pakistan on shared priorities and advance US national security”.

Making the announcement, former US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Alice Wells had added that the general safety help suspension for Pakistan remained in impact. 

Learn extra: President-elect Joe Biden faces uphill process of repairing nation’s soul

Afghan Peace Course of

In the meantime, Biden’s nominee for the submit of secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has stated that the brand new administration can be reviewing the US-Taliban peace deal. 

Stressing that the Biden administration additionally wished to finish the decades-long battle, Blinken stated: “We want to bring our forces home. We want to retain some capacity to deal with any resurgence of terrorism, which is what brought us there in the first place.

“We have to look carefully at what has actually been negotiated. I haven’t been privy to it yet,” he emphasised. 

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