‘DIFFERENT WAY’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Oct 2017 12:37:55

THE fresh American warning -- delivered by United States Secretary of State Mr. Rex Tillerson -- should make Pakistan see sense and demolish safe havens for terrorists on its soil. Following his official visit to India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mr. Tillerson has said categorically that if Pakistan does not mend its ways, then the US will have to think in a “different way” to tackle the situation. In the past few months since Mr. Donald Trump took over as President, the US has issued several warnings to Pakistan against its shameless sponsorship of terrorism. Living true to his own word, Mr. Trump appears serious about chastising Pakistan at the earliest. For India and also for the world, this is certainly a good sign.

The unequivocal assertion of Mr. Tillerson should act as a wake up call for Pakistan. For, in no uncertain words, the top US diplomat has said, in effect, that if Pakistan feels that it does not want to demolish terror modules on its soil or feels that it cannot do that, then the US will have to “adjust our tactics and our strategies to achieve the same objective a different way”. At no time in the past has the United States delivered any warning in such a frank and forthright manner, almost hinting at a possible direct action if Pakistan fails to deliver.  Of course, at a news conference at Geneva, his last stop on the tour, Mr. Tillerson has also said that his interaction with Pakistani authorities was healthy and that he communicated the American idea of how things should be. But, in the same breath almost, he also talked of a different way in which the US may tackle the situation in Pakistan. What message Pakistan takes from this warning, is for Pakistan to decide. For the world, however, this warning comes as a whiff of fresh air in the
otherwise stale air of international realpolitik.

There should be no doubt about the American power to be able to act upon its own warnings. For quite some time, the US had been asking Pakistan to ensure that Osama Bin Laden, is to be whisked away from Pakistan if not physically eliminated. When that did not happen, President Mr. Barack Obama ordered a commando operation that eliminated Bin Laden right on the Pakistani soil and led to his burial at sea subsequently.

Though Mr. Tillerson has not reminded the world of the Bin Laden episode, everybody knows what to read in the warning. Even though anybody would hope that Pakistan would take the right hint, the world also is aware of the brazenness with which Pakistan has been promoting terrorism with a shameless nonchalance. There is every possibility that the US picks up the gauntlet and acts definitively. Though the nature of its action cannot be known at this stage, the US may use its superior technology and willingness to hit hard appropriately. Mr. Tillerson’s warnings does have some hints of what may come.