Washington: India’s national security adviser Ajit Doval met with his US counterpart Susan Rice to discuss counter-terrorism cooperation amid a smoke-and-mirror spy spat between India and Pakistan. Doval arrived in Washington ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit here tomorrow for the Nuclear Security Summit, and discussed a raft of issues beyond the primary agenda of the meet.
National security council spokesman Ned Price said they exchanged views on the “prospects for commercial progress this year under US-India civil nuclear Cooperation.” Ambassador Rice also reiterated US support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), he added.
No such support is forthcoming for Pakistan, whose leaders bailed out of the meeting fearing international pressure on its out-of-control nuclear weapons program. Pakistan’s proxy military rulers sent a low-level bureaucrat for the summit after Islamabad cited the terrorist attack on Lahore for Prime Minister Sharif skipping the meet. The fact that the Lahore attack was directed against Pakistan’s beleaguered minority Christian community has also attracted opprobrium in the U.S.
But in a bizarre twist to the story, Pakistani military wheeled out an alleged Indian spy purportedly operating in Balochistan to paper over the crisis in Islamabad and Lahore, both in ferment as extremists gain ascendency.
The two sides made no reference to the spy spat, but significantly, the White House NSC statement said Rice and Doval “discussed U.S-India counter-terrorism operation, including against Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed,” the two terrorist groups long sponsored by the Pakistani military which now professes to fight against terrorist groups.
“Ambassador Rice and NSA Doval exchanged views on the terrorist threat posed by ISIL in the region and the importance of combatting the ideology that fuels such groups,” the NSC statement said. Pakistan’s state-mandated ideology, backed by constitutional statutes, actively disenfranchises minorities and promotes hatred against them. The country’s capital Islamabad has been under siege for the past two days from extremists who regard Mumtaz Qadri, who was hanged for murdering a prominent politician who he believed supported blasphemy.