Washington, July 30 : The United States and Pakistan need to break new ground on their counter-terrorism efforts along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border if they wish to sustain their post 9/11 partnership, an expert on South Asian affairs has said.
According to Lisa Curtis, a senior research fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, time is not on the side of the new government in Pakistan to deal effectively with the international threat building in the border areas unless it accepts U.S. advice and assistance.
She also warns that the worst outcome from the Washington visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani "would be one in which the two sides talk past each other and break no new ground on counter-terrorism initiatives."
"From the U.S. perspective, a successful visit would convey support for the Pakistani people but also result in concrete joint initiatives that assure both Americans and Pakistanis that the two sides remain steadfast partners in the war on terror," she adds.
Curtis further goes on to say that supporting Gilani will convey a positive message to the broader Pakistani public about U.S. intentions toward Pakistan.
"Such an approach is in principle with the Bush Administration's policy that institution building and support for democratic development remain the most effective ways to combat terrorism over the long term," Curtis adds.
Curtis also feels that U.S. officials should also probe Gilani on his government's efforts to disrupt the Taliban/al-Qaeda sanctuary in the tribal areas and impress upon him that this is an issue with international ramifications and thus requires a closely coordinated joint U.S.-Pakistan strategy.
She says that Washington would do well to avoid a threatening tone, as this would be counterproductive.
The U.S. and Pakistan will have to work more closely in coordinating military operations, sharing intelligence, and improving communications that thwart cross-border movement from Pakistan into Afghanistan, she concludes.