The United States has a “whole global agenda” with India covering all issues while the relationship with Pakistan has to do with issues of terrorism and Afghanistan, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said on the eve of his three-day India visit. Carter also reiterated that from the perspective of the US there is no India-Pak hyphenation.
“The days are gone when we only deal with India as the other side of the Pakistan coin, or Pakistan as the other side of the India coin. I know that there are those in India and Pakistan who are still glued to that way of thinking. But the US put that behind us some time ago,” Carter said on Friday in response to a question on impact of India-US relationship on Pakistan at the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR), a top American think-tank.
“With respect to Pakistan, that also is an important security partner. A whole lot of issues of which counter-terrorism looms largest. And we work with the Pakistanis all the time on that,” he said.
“We are long past the point in US policy-making where we look at the India-Pakistan dyad as the whole story for either one of them. We have much more to do with India today than has to do with Pakistan,” Carter said. “There is important business with respect to Pakistan, but we have much more, a whole global agenda with India, agenda that covers all kinds of issues,” he said.
“With respect to Pakistan totally different. We have a big set of issues having to do with the border with Afghanistan where we continue to operate, with terrorism, both on the territory of Pakistan and also obviously cross-border into Afghanistan, including affecting US service members there,” he said.
Carter acknowledged that he would be asked about Pakistan during his India visit. “I’m sure I’ll be asked about it in India, but I think the first thing one needs to say from an American policy point of view, these are both respected partners and friends. They find themselves in very different situations,” said the US Defence Secretary.
During his India visit beginning on Sunday at the invitation of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Carter will be in Goa and Delhi.