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Scylla and Charybdis in South Asia

“We have made it clear to the Pakistani government that confronting violent extremists of all sorts is in its interest.” So said Secretary of State Hilary Clinton today in…India.

A few people in Pakistan might disagree.

Sec. Clinton is in India this week both to strengthen the American relations with the (possibly) rising superpower and to encourage efforts to ease tensions between India and Pakistan ahead of meetings between the two South Asian neighbors next week.

It will be difficult to attain both of these goals. Pakistan’s support for terrorist groups is primarily motivated by its fear of a powerful India next door, and US support for its strategic rival is likely to make Pakistani leaders all the more nervous.

Sec. Clinton needs to keep this Pakistani view of the world in mind as she navigates the tricky diplomatic waters in South Asia.  Islamabad is watching, and Islamabad is keeping score.

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