Admits Pakistan suffered greatly from terrorism
New Delhi—US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday Pakistan had made progress in the fight against extremism in recent months, but urged Islamabad to push harder against militants hiding within its borders.
“It is clear that Pakistan has work to do in order to push harder against its indigenous groups that are engaged in extremist activities,” Kerry said on Wednesday, the second day of a visit to India.
Kerry said the United States had made it clear to Islamabad that it needs to act against groups such as Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
“In fairness, the Pakistanis have suffered greatly from terrorism in their own country,” Kerry said. “All of us need to be supportive and also understanding of how difficult it is to take it on step by step.”
Without elaborating, he added: “I believe that in the last months progress is being made and the Pakistanis are moving at a greater pace.”
“My hope is that Pakistan as a country is not isolated by this but is encouraged by this,” Kerry said. He said he had spoken to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about the need for his country to deprive any group of “sanctuary”.
Kerry said the United States was working to address tensions in Afghanistan’s fragile coalition of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. India’s participation in the talks could only help strengthen those efforts and underscore to the Afghan leaders the importance of a stable and unified Afghanistan, he added.
“It is vital that Pakistan join with other nations in tackling this challenge, and in fairness in recent weeks and months they have been moving more authoritatively in the western part of the country,” Kerry added.
Asked what it will take to re-open talks with Pakistan, Suwaraj said India was not the one creating tensions with Pakistan.
“We told them we want to solve our problems through talks,” she said, “But they did things that forced us to suspend the dialogue. The least we expect is there should be action against the perpetrators. Talks can only happen if there is action on their side.”
Meanwhile, Kerry described the talks with India as “constructive” and said the sides had made headway on a variety of issues, including cyber-security and expanded cooperation on terrorist screening. He said the United States would do more to help upgrade India’s power grid and work to provide financing for clean energy projects.—Agencies