US National Security Adviser HR McMaster is in India and held talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is the first high-level meeting between Indian leadership's first and US President Donald Trump's officials, since the new administration took charge at Washington.
Trump's top security official is expected to seek more assistance from India pertaining to Afghanistan, where New Delhi has developed significant diplomatic clout over the past few years. Lieutenant General McMaster's trip comes on the heels of the US dropping the "mother of all bombs" targeting Islamic State positions in Afghanistan.
In the first leg of his tour of South Asia, the high-ranking official visited Afghanistan on Sunday (16 April) and was in Pakistan the following day. Officially, McMaster is reviewing the security situation in the region as Pakistan and India vie for influence in Afghanistan as it crawls out of Taliban's Islamist insurgency.
"McMaster who is coming from Kabul and Islamabad also discussed regional security issues with his Indian counterpart. Indian side emphasised that the terrorism emanating from Pakistan is posing a serious threat to regional stability and security. India and US have very good cooperation," said a statement from Indian authorities.
McMaster's itinerary seems consequential as previous NSAs hardly visited Islamabad and New Delhi in a single loop especially keeping Afghanistan on top of the agenda. He has hinted that the US would take a tougher stand against Pakistan while dealing with the security situation in Afghanistan.
Before landing in Islamabad, McMaster said in an interview to an Afghan news channel that the Pakistani leadership should take more efforts in tackling terrorism both inside their country and near its borders.
"As all of us have hoped for many, many years – we have hoped that Pakistani leaders will understand that it is in their interest to go after these groups less selectively than they have in the past," McMaster added.