Pakistan continues to consider India as an ‘existential threat’ despite the two countries taking significant appreciative steps in improving their ties, a top American intelligence official said on Wednesday.
‘Pakistan and our interests are not always congruent...Their existential threat continues to be India’, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.
Clapper said that after a four-year pause, India and Pakistan revived expert-level discussions on conventional and nuclear confidence-building measures (CBM).
Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers had cordial meetings during the April international cricket championships and the November South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meeting, he said.
However, despite these appreciative steps in improving ties, India is expected to adopt a ‘go slow’ policy in its talks with Pakistan on the issue of Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek, Clapper said.
‘Less progress has been made in discussions over the difficult border issues of Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek, and we judge New Delhi will maintain a go-slow approach in these negotiations’, he said.
‘Progress expanding trade ties has also helped improve relations, and Islamabad in November publicly committed to a proposal for granting most favoured nation trade status to India’, he said.
The American intelligence official also said that India is unlikely to send troops or heavy equipment to Afghanistan, fearing a backlash from Pakistan.
‘New Delhi in the near term is unlikely to send troops or heavy equipment to Kabul because it does not want to provoke Pakistan’, Clapper said.
Clapper said India recently signed a strategic agreement with Afghanistan, which is likely to facilitate closer bilateral security cooperation, more training of Afghan security personnel, and modest material support to Afghan Government security forces.