Indo-China Ties Could Deteriorate, Pakistan Will Continue to Threaten US Interests: America's Top Spymaster
India and China were engaged in a 73-day standoff at Doklam last year after Indian troops objected to Chinese army building a road close to India's Chicken-Neck Corridor, a narrow corridor connecting north-eastern states.
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Daniel Coats prepares to testify to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Worldwide Threats on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2018. (Image: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
Washington: Pakistan will continue to threaten US interests by deploying new nuclear weapons capabilities, maintaining ties to militants, restricting counter-terrorism cooperation and drawing closer to China, America's top spymaster said on Tuesday.
Testifying before the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee on worldwide threats, Director of National Intelligence Daniel R Coats also said the ties between India and China are expected to be tense and possibly deteriorate. "Militant groups supported by Islamabad will continue to take advantage of their safe haven in Pakistan to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, including against US interests," Coats said.
He had made a similar statement recently before another Congressional committee. "Pakistan's perception of its eroding position relative to India, reinforced by endemic economic weakness and domestic security issues, almost certainly will exacerbate long-held fears of isolation and drive Islamabad's pursuit of actions that run counter to US goals for the region," Coats said.
He warned that the relations between India and Pakistan are likely to remain tense, with continued violence on the Line of Control and the risk of escalation if there is another high-profile terrorist attack in India or an uptick in violence on the LoC. "We expect relations between India and China to remain tense and possibly to deteriorate further, despite the negotiated settlement to their three-month border standoff in August, elevating the risk of unintentional escalation," he said.
India and China were engaged in a 73-day standoff at Doklam last year after Indian troops objected to Chinese army building a road close to India's Chicken-Neck Corridor, a narrow corridor connecting north-eastern states. The standoff ended on August 28 after Chinese troops agreed to stop building the road.
Coats said China and Russia will seek spheres of influence and to check US appeal and influence in their regions. Meanwhile, US allies' and partners' uncertainty about the willingness and capability of the United States to maintain its international commitments may drive them to consider reorienting their policies, particularly regarding trade, away from Washington, he noted.
China, Coats said, will continue to pursue an active foreign policy especially in the Asia Pacific region highlighted by a firm stance on its sovereignty claims in the East China Sea (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS), its relations with Taiwan, and its pursuit of economic engagement across the region.
"Regional tension will persist due to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and simmering tension over territorial and maritime disputes in the ECS and SCS. China will also pursue efforts aimed at fulfilling its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative to expand China's economic reach and political influence across Eurasia, Africa, and the Pacific through infrastructure projects," he added.
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