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 ‘Washington must cut funding Pakistan if doesn’t rein in terror’

An influential group of American business leaders, academics and policy experts has recommended that if Pakistan does not rein in terror, the US stop funding Islamabad’s defence equipment purchases and reimbursing coalition support funds.

“The US should demand that Pakistan meet its obligations as a state to tackle terrorism emanating from its territory, in both India and Afghanistan,” an Independent Task Force of the Council on Foreign Relations said in a statement on Thursday.

But “if Pakistan is not willing to rein in terror, Washington should be prepared, at minimum, to end US taxpayer funding for defence equipment sales and reimbursement of coalition support funds,” the experts said.

“India is poised for power and prosperity if it can remain focused on its domestic transformation, and the risk of conflict with Pakistan threatens to drag India down,” the task force said in its report, “Working With a Rising India: A Joint Venture for the New Century”.

It added, “India should not have to, nor should it want to, endure further decades of having its strategic options limited by Pakistan.”

As for New Delhi, the report said, “The US should encourage India to improve its relationship with Pakistan — as an investment in its own rise — particularly, at least to start, through greater trade connectivity.”

Recognising India’s concerns about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan which could impact the region, the experts said that the US “should commit to a doctrine stating that future decisions regarding the size, scope, and timeline for deployment of US forces will be determined by on-the-ground realities and not artificially imposed schedules, and without a declared date of departure.”

“Such a move would help assure India and others that US’ actions will not undermine the goal of long-term regional stability,” they said and recommended that Washington “extend its commitment to Afghanistan — even beyond President Barack Obama’s decision to slow the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and retain a force of some 5,000 troops in the country into 2017.”

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