A day after China came out strongly against the US government on the issue of India’s NSG membership bid, outgoing US envoy to New Delhi, Richard Verma, exuded confidence on Tuesday that the incoming Donald Trump administration would be able to overcome the Chinese hurdle, even as he said the Obama administration has recently delivered a “very tough” message to Pakistan, asking it to dismantle safe havens of terrorist groups Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani network operating from its soil.
Saying that India faces a “daunting challenge” from these Pakistan-based terror groups, and hailing New Delhi’s efforts to deal with the menace, the envoy said the world needs India’s leadership in countering terrorism. Mr Verma, who demits office ahead of US President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, said the US also told the Pakistani leadership to come down hard on perpetrators of cross-border terrorism, including in Afghanistan.
Asked about what exactly the Obama administration told Pakistan recently regarding Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani network, Mr Verma was quoted by news agencies as saying at an event, “We have taken a very tough line on these terrorist groups operating from Pakistani soil.” He said the message to the Pakistani leadership has been a “very tough and concerted” one, adding that Islamabad has been told to eliminate the safe havens of the terrorist groups, shut down their cross border activities and take action against the perpetrators of terror.
Talking about the threat of terror that India was facing, he said, “On the western front, India faces a daunting challenge of terrorist groups operating from inside Pakistan. Some of these groups, including LeT and the Haqqani network, and JeM also, targeted the US and Afghan security forces in Afghanistan.” He said the US continued to press Pakistan at the “highest level” to take effective action against these groups and cited the extension of terrorist designation to two more LeT leaders, adding, “The US-India partnership stands as a global example of what is possible.”
On India’s NSG membership bid, he said that President Barack Obama, secretary of state John Kerry and a lot of other people had worked in pushing India’s membership to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group and that the US will continue to work on it. China had said on Monday that the admission of non-NPT signatories in the NSG could not be a “farewell gift” for countries to give to each other. The Chinese reaction had come after the US asserted that Beijing was an “outlier” in the efforts to make India a member of the elite nuclear club.
“This is something we will keep working on together. There is a lot of support for India’s membership as we said we strongly support India’s accession in the NSG. These things are complicated, they take time, they are multilateral. We will have to continue to work with those countries, including China, which may have some concerns,” Mr Verma said.