America will now change perspective of Pakistan as an ally: Hussain Haqqani

| Updated: Jun 27, 2017 05:24 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], June 26 (ANI): Speaking ahead of the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump here on Monday, former Pakistan ambassador to Washington Hussain Haqqani expressed hope that with closer India-U.S. ties, Islamabad would also change its policies towards terror groups. Haqqani, who is living in the US in quasi-exile, told ANI, "Today's meeting (between PM Modi and Trump) will lay the foundation of policy changes and bringing Indian and American policies a little more closely together. Hopefully, that would be understood in Pakistan and it will start changing its policy quickly as well." Haqqani, who was much criticised in Pakistan following claims that his 'connections' with the Obama administration enabled the US to target and kill Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, added that Washington has finally realised that Islamabad's policies on terrorism do not coincide with its own. "The US has now come to terms that Pakistan's policy in relation to terrorist groups does not coincide with its own. I think the period when US took Pakistani statements at face value is over and in that sense, US and India are far closer today on how to deal with terror groups and Pakistan's support or acceptance of these groups," he said. Haqqani stressed that America will now start receding from treating Pakistan as an ally and will look upon India as its principal partner in the region. "Presently Pakistan is watching the situation. It thinks it has a much closer relationship with China. It is also reconciled to a relatively downgraded relationship with the US. Let's see how things play out," he said. Meanwhile, India welcomed Washington's decision to designate Hizbul Chief Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin, as a 'Specially Designated Global Terrorist.' The announcement came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis today. Commenting on the development Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in a statement, "In that sense we would welcome this notification and also underlines strongly that both India and US face threat of terrorism and are working together to counter this threat." He added that this move by the U.S. vindicates India's long standing position that cross border terrorism from Pakistan has been behind the disturbances created in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Salahuddin is the senior leader of the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. In September, 2016, Salahuddin vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Kashmir valley "into a graveyard for Indian forces." Under Salahuddin's tenure as senior Hizbul leader, the terror outfit has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 explosives attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people. (ANI)

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