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The US administration is all set for a decisive action in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama’s new strategy being set in motion “for the long haul” has the active support of India and Australia. The sending of additional US troops seems part of a long-term plan, which is likely to witness strategic involvement of the two above mentioned powerful Asia-Pacific nations.

It appears that President Obama has worked out a major alliance with India and Australia. Australian troops have already been in action in Afghanistan. It remains to be seen in what manner India extends its support. If recent statements are any indication, Indian military participation in Afghan war may not come as a surprise.

President Obama had a talk with Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh today. This comes in the wake of Singh’s recent meeting with Obama in Washington. “India feels that due to the continued threat posed by terrorism emanating from Afghanistan, the world community should stay engaged there and not think about ‘pre-mature exit’ as it could embolden terrorists,” reports The Times of India. See here…

Indian Prime Minister’s “assertive counsel to stay the course in Afghanistan or risk ‘catastrophic consequences’ under
an emboldened Taliban could play a decisive role in President Barack Obama’s final determination about his new strategy in the region.” More here…

Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd told reporters as he joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a meeting at the State Department: “Australia takes its alliance with the United States very seriously. That’s why we have been with America for a long time in Afghanistan and why we will be with America for the long haul.”

It is no coincidence that Kevin Rudd also visited India recently. While Manmohan Singh said the two countries have decided to “upgrade our relations to the level of a strategic partnership”, Kevin Rudd announced Australian Federal Government will be sending at least an extra 14 Australian diplomats to India “representing the largest single expansion of Australia’s diplomatic and consular representation in India ever.”See my earlier post here…

What does the emerging alliance between the USA, Australia and India indicate? President Obama seems to be opting for a holistic plan to strike at the root of terrorism. Which means that the military plans in future may not be left to the US generals but there would be inputs primarily from India and Australia.

This is also aimed as a wake up call for the Pakistani establishment, especially the powerful army, to stop running with the hare and hunting with hounds. Also, teaming up with India and Australia seems to offer a better alternative to Obama to promote faster economic recovery in his own country than the usual reliance on China.

“Getting Pakistan on board is also a key component for Obama, according to The Washington Post, which reported Monday that Obama had sent a letter to Zardari saying the U.S. planned no early withdrawal from Afghanistan and will increase its military and economic cooperation with Pakistan,” reports Fox News.

“The Post, quoting unidentified administration officials, also said that Obama called for closer collaboration against extremist groups, including five named in the letter.

“The letter, delivered by national security adviser James Jones, reportedly included a blunt warning that the U.S. would not tolerate support within Pakistan’s military and intelligence operations of extremists fighting in Afghanistan.” More here…

Meanwhile US President Barack Obama has sharpened his message to Pakistan over harbouring terror groups such as al-Qa’ida and Lashkar-e-Toiba, warning that it can no longer use them as a “policy tool” and remain a US ally, reports The Australian. More here…

SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist
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