US influence on Pakistan less: Blackwill


Kolkata : Emphasising that the United States’ influence on Pakistan now was less than what it was years back, former US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill Thursday said his country lacked the leverage with Islamabad to ensure handing over of terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim to New Delhi.

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“Probably, US influence on Pakistan is now less than what it was years back. Since 9/11 (terror air strikes on US) our relationship is so bad that to think we are in a position to influence Islamabad on what India wants, which is to hand terrorists over, is unrealistic,” Blackwill said on the sidelines of a function here when asked what Washington could do to ensure Pakistan handed over Dawood – alleged mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai blasts – to india.

“The US does not have that kind of leverage on Pakistan… Washington does not have the pressure points to make it happen, much as we would like it to happen,” said Blackwill, now Henry A Kissinger Senior Fellow for US foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Regarding Pakistan’s possession of nuclear arms, Blackwill said his country wanted “more restraint” on the part of Pakistan.

However, he said it was unlikely to have much effect on Pakistan because of “how bad our relations are now, but also because the Pakistan military sees India as a threat”.

“So, my preoccupation is that (Pakistan) keep secure control over these nuclear weapons and material so that they don’t fall into the hands of terrorists,” he said.