Adding India to the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing club would hurt US-Pakistan relations as Islamabad tries to coordinate a regional response to a growing Afghanistan terror threat, Defense One reported citing a senior Pakistani official as saying.
“It’s a recipe for a new Cold War, a recipe for a new divide, and if you are going to have that, the lines will be drawn,” Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who leads the Senate Defence Committee, told reporters at a private event, the report said.
Sayed was responding to a question about proposed legislation in the US Senate that would order the Pentagon to look at adding India and several other Asia-Pacific countries to the decades-old intel-sharing agreement between Australia, the UK Canada, New Zealand, and the US.
He stopped short of saying that if India ultimately joined the Five Eyes group, Pakistan would place new limits on what it shares with the US. But he said the move would hurt US-Pakistan ties, which could affect coordination on Afghanistan policy, the report said.
The US has asked Pakistan not to recognize the Taliban, Sayed said, and so Pakistan is taking its time and looking for a regional consensus on the issue of legitimising the new government in Kabul, bringing in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, China, Russia, Iran, and possibly others.
“Also, we are waiting to see what the (US) does,” he said, the report added.
Sayed said US officials should view the Taliban of today as different from the one that American forces overthrew two decades ago.
“I feel they are chastened, more pragmatic. They know this is not the Afghanistan of the 1990s. They do not have a pan-Islamic perspective,” he said.
Soon after the Taliban takeover, Sayed said, Pakistan began trying to coordinate a regional response to IS-K and other terror groups. On September 9, he said, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency hosted “an unprecedented meeting” of the intelligence chiefs of neighbouring countries plus Russia.
“We all agreed on a common counter-terror strategy in concert with the new administration in Kabul. So it’s a work in progress, but the (US) should be on board,” he said, the report said.
He said IS-K militants threaten to cross the border into Pakistan, mount terror attacks, and retreat to Afghanistan.
“That’s our main concern. It’s a nightmare for us,” he said.