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If Pakistan Ends Terror Safe Havens, Can Have Economic, Diplomatic Benefits From India: US

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| October 4 , 2017 , 13:19 IST

International pressure on Pakistan to take action against the safe havens for terrorists on its land continues to mount, as US President Donald Trump in his South Asia policy also called for a tougher policy against Pakistan.

Highlighting the importance of Pakistan removing terror havens, US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said that acting against terror havens on its soil would certainly open up more economic possibilities for Pakistan including with neighbouring India.

"There's a great deal that Pakistan can benefit economically, diplomatically, financially for its government; economically for its people; by finally sensing that the tide has shifted against this," Mattis said.

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The Defence Secretary also said that the Trump administration believes it would be difficult to sustain any kind of stabilisation in South Asia unless the safe havens are removed.  

Another member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed said that in order for the Afghanistan efforts to succeed, it would be imperative to disrupt the sanctuaries of terrorist groups like the Taliban and the Haqqani network that are located in Pakistan which provide training, rest and recruitment to the militant groups.

"We have heard that the administration intends to change the relationship with Pakistan in order to compel action that supports our efforts in Afghanistan," Reed said.

Mattis described Pakistan as having a "convoluted history" with terrorism; while Pakistan has been a haven for outward attacks by terrorist groups, it has also faced attacks within the country.

"We've seen the attacks on India, as well. At the same time, probably few nations, perhaps none, have lost as many troops fighting terrorists as they have," said Mattis.

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Chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain said that Trump is planning to change the US approach towards Pakistan, which continues to harbour terrorists who have targeted even US service members and officials.

"But we still do not know what specific steps the United States will take to convince or compel Pakistan to change its behaviour, or what costs we will impose if Pakistan fails to do so," McCain said.

In response to questions on the US's actions against Pakistan, the Defence Secretary Mattis said, "There are a number of lines of effort being put together now in Secretary of Treasury's office, Secretary of State's office, my own office, the intel agencies. We are also working with Secretary General Stoltenberg to ensure that NATO's equities are brought to bear."