US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster met Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif and emphasised “the need to confront terrorism in all its forms” on Monday.
“General McMaster expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s democratic and economic development, and stressed the need to confront terrorism in all its forms,” the US embassy said in a statement.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was quick to bring up the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir during his talks with the US National Security Advisor hoping for US intervention over the contentious border issue which has resulted in widespread violence.
“(Sharif) welcomed President Trump’s willingness to help India and Pakistan resolve their difference particularly on Kashmir and noted that this could go a long way in bringing sustainable peace, security and prosperity to the region,” the Pakistan prime minister’s office said in a statement.
India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir in 1965 and 1971 including a border skirmish in 1999 during the Kargil conflict. India has maintained it won’t allow any “third party” intervention on Kashmir but Pakistan has consistently lobbied for either the UN or the US to intervene in the dispute.
This is H.R. McMaster first South Asian trip since the new US administration took office in January. He also met Pakistan’s chief of army staff general Qamar Javed Bajwa as well as top foreign policy and national security officials.
Afganistan too figured in the talks, Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan of providing Taliban insurgents shelter and support on its side of the countries’ porous border. Pakistan denies it shelters the Afghan Taliban and says it fights against all the region’s jihadist groups with equal vigour.
McMaster in an interview with an Afghan news channel TOLO News in Kabul, said, “As all of us have hoped for many, many years, we have hoped that Pakistani leaders will understand that it is in their interest to go after these groups less selectively than they have in the past.”
However, official statements on Monday gave little indication of whether the Trump administration would adopt a new, tougher policy on Pakistan, as some Afghan and Indian officials hope.
“And the best way to pursue their interest in Afghanistan and elsewhere is through diplomacy not through the use of proxies that engage in violence,” he added during the interview indicating US frustration with Pakistan’s Afgan policy.