By Islamuddin Sajid
Pakistan on Saturday underlined its rejection of any political or military role for India in Afghanistan, despite the U.S.’ stated new policy for the region.
"Pakistan will never accept any Indian role in Afghanistan under the Trump administration’s new policy for South Asia and Afghanistan," Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told local broadcaster Express News.
Pakistan is ready to engage with the U.S. and cooperate for peace in Afghanistan despite reservations over President Donald Trump's policy statement on Afghanistan but there is no space for India to play any role there, Asif explained.
"If India wants to give economic assistance to Afghanistan, they can do it but any other role is unacceptable for us," he added.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also said that there is no role for India to play in Afghanistan.
There is no political or military role for India in Afghanistan because it would complicate the situation and would not resolve anything, Abbasi remarked at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York.
Abbasi also raised his country’s objections over a proposed Indian role while meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during the UN General Assembly, Voice of America reported.
Last month, Trump announced a new phase in the 16-year campaign in Afghanistan, which, while short on detail, pledged further U.S. military involvement against the Taliban.
Trump also criticized Pakistan for providing “safe havens for terrorist organizations” and called on Pakistan’s regional rival India to become further involved in Afghanistan.
The apparent switch from Pakistan, a long-standing U.S. ally, to India led to the cancellation of three high-level meetings with U.S. officials by Islamabad and parliament passing a resolution criticizing Washington's new policy as hostile and threatening.