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Donald Trump's debut speech at UNGA was tough on terror, but India shouldn't get too excited just yet

As far as the global media is concerned, the annual September gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly was fairly tepid until US president Donald Trump's debut speech on Tuesday. It received many accolades for being "bold and courageous."

While Trump's speech was replete with warnings for the 'reckless' North Korea, a small part of his speech was interesting for India and its not-so-friendly-neighbour Pakistan.

We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation, and indeed to tear up the entire world.

We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nations. It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban and others that slaughter innocent people.

It would have given immense pleasure to Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and many back in India as the US president moved from warning North Korea to calling out to those nations which are acting as "safe havens" for terrorists. We know who Trump was talking about, but do we really? Although unnamed, the world clearly knows that Pakistan is a safe haven for terror groups.

 Donald Trumps debut speech at UNGA was tough on terror, but India shouldnt get too excited just yet

Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly. AP

Trump and his administration, in the past, have openly called Pakistan out for sheltering extremists and terrorists on their soil - aid has been cut, defence deals have fallen through and the US has, on numerous occasions, directly slammed Pakistan for its unwillingness to take action on certain terror outfits thriving there.

However, even as Trump began on the right note: We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology - the terror outfits he mentions in his speech, indicate the US' priorities. The first name on the list is Al-Qaeda, a globally accepted enemy and Hezbollah, an outfit that has its theatre of conflict in West Asia. But by naming Taliban and no one else, Trump appears to subscribe to a line that paints Pakistan (alongside Afghanistan) as a victim.

While India and the world media may be pleased with the naming of terror outfits and references to those that harbour them, Trump left out outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed's Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the Jaish-e-Mohammad - which have repeatedly plotted, attacked and caused mass casualty in India and neighbouring countries. Of course, he also left out Boko Haram and certain other groups that practice their brand of Islamic terror the world over. But it's an indication of Trump's priorities, nonetheless.

Before some TV channel tells you it is a "huge diplomatic win" for the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, let's understand exactly what it was.

Even though Trump's bold debut speech is indicative of his stand on terrorism and 'loser terrorists', it reflects where the nation stands as far as Pakistan is concerned. That Trump, who seems to operate solely in black and white, stops short of going all the way in criticising Pakistan does India no favours.

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Updated Date: Sep 20, 2017 16:47:20 IST

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