McCain points to Pakistan military, terror groups link


New Delhi : Calling for a realistic US policy towards Pakistan, Senator John McCain, a former American presidential candidate, Thursday aired concern over the “troubling connection” between the Pakistani military and terrorist groups in that country.

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“The troubling connection remains between Pakistan’s military and terrorist groups like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba who are killing Indians, Afghans and Pakistanis,” McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in the 2008 race, told reporters here.

He was sharing his impressions of his visit to Pakistan last week where he met Pakistani leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari.

Alluding to the ongoing debate in the US about a rethink among the powers-that-be in Washington about its ties with Islamabad, McCain said: “This is a time for intensive reflection about our relations with Pakistan. The US must develop a realistic relationship with Pakistan.”

McCain, the influential US senator from Arizona who is currently on a visit to India, hoped that Pakistan will emerge “a successful democratic nation” and underlined the need for strengthening democratic civilian rule in that country.

The senator also emphasised that the US had resolved not to let the Taliban return to Afghanistan and was trying to help develop a secure nation that “will not be a base for terrorists”.

McCain met National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon in the morning and discussed a swathe of issues relating to the burgeoning India-US strategic partnership.

“The US has a critical stake in India’s success,” McCain said. He expressed confidence that the India-US relationship “can be and should be the indispensable partnership of the 21st century”.