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Pak radicalisation seen boosting Indo-US ties

Pak radicalisation seen boosting Indo-US ties

Author: S Rajagopalan
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: December 22, 2002
URL: http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_124598,00050001.htm

A leading American think tank sees a "serious strategic partnership" unfolding between the US and India at a time when Washington, in its view, is "starting to turn sour on Islamabad" because of its growing radicalisation.

The Bush administration may have consistently courted Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf after the September 11 attacks, but radicalisation of the Pakistani polity could trigger a realignment, says the American Foreign Policy Council.

It speaks of Washington's "real worries that the radical Islamist worldview of groups like the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, which is supportive of both the Taliban and al Qaeda, could become the country's leitmotif".

Ilan Berman, vice-president of policy at the council, says that in recent weeks, Washington has quietly commenced a substantial overhaul of its relationship with New Delhi at a time when the world's attention is otherwise focused on Iraq.

With the ongoing transformation, he predicts that India will join the ranks of American allies like Japan and Singapore and gain eligibility of significant discretionary military assistance.

Apart from the upsurge of radical forces in the recent Pakistani elections, the think tank notes that Islamabad's nuclear nexus with North Korea has become a major sore point with Washington.

If Berman is convinced that the US has already begun moves to reorder ties with India at the expense of Pakistan, Thomas Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute builds up a strong case for Washington wooing New Delhi.

"Perhaps the most alluring partner for the United States in the coming century is India," Donnelly says in a projection of the US's national security outlook. But there is much work to do "to repair past decades of rancorous relations...and to overcome many misconceptions, such as the perceived danger of India's nuclear programme".

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