India has urged the USA to prevent the release of final tranche of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to Pakistan worth $350 million until Islamabad takes credible action against all terror groups, including LeT, as the two NSAs held wide ranging talks on counter-terror partnership, Pak-sponsored terror and Af-Pak situation here on Monday night.
In what has been described as a successful visit by the US NSA, India suggested to the high-ranking official that Washington should release funds to Islamabad only when the Pakistani Army acts against the groups such as LeT it had so far avoided targeting during its counter-terrorism operations.
HR McMaster, who left on Tuesday after meeting the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was the first senior US official from the Trump administration to visit India. It may be recalled that both in Kabul and Islamabad, the US NSA was categorical in advising Pakistani leadership to shun its approach in selectively fighting terror.
The Trump administration has been sceptical of releasing the remaining fund of $350 million of the $900 million CSF as Pakistan has not done enough against the Haqqani terror network to get the required certification from the defence secretary. As mandated by the Congress, the Pentagon has started the process of reviewing the steps taken by Pakistan against the Haqqani network, which the US believes poses a grave threat to its forces in Afghanistan.
The Indian side appraised the US NSA that Islamabad has not only acted against the Haqqani network but also not acted against LeT and other terror groups indulging in cross-border terror. US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis needs to issue a certificate to the Congress in this regard by June-end to become eligible to get $350 million from the Pentagon.
The US financial year ends in September. The Haqqani network has carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against US interests in Afghanistan, and the group is also blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people.