US described India as a "leading global power" in its National Security Strategy

New Delhi: The new US national security strategy that promises to support India's leadership role in South and Central Asia, which is expected to help counter China's growing influence in the area, has raised hackles in Pakistan. Calling India a "leading global power", the Donald Trump administration said it intends to "deepen its strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region".

India said the close partnership with the US will contribute to "peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region". The two nations, India said, share common objectives, "including combating terrorism and promoting peace and security throughout the world".

Referring to the India-US defence relationship, the 68-page document US document has said the US will help south Asian nations "maintain their sovereignty as China increases its influence in the region". China's recent One Belt One Road scheme that passes through more than a dozen nations, its purchase of a port Sri Lanka and free trade agreement with Maldives has been seen as indications of Beijing's effort to expand its footprint. India has already protested against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The document also said the United States seeks a Pakistan that's not engaged in destabilising behavior and a stable and self-reliant Afghanistan.

It brought a sharp statement from Pakistan, which also shares close ties with China. "Countries emerge as regional or global powers on the basis of their constructive contributions. It does not fall upon one country to bestow such status on any state," a statement from Islamabad read.

Referring to Kashmir, the statement went on to add: "Ironically, a country (India) with a record of defiance of UNSC resolutions, introduction of nuclear weapons in South Asia and use of terrorism as a state policy is being projected as a regional leader".

Pakistan's many claims of helping control terror in the region have been busted following the recent release of Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, who has been marked as a terrorist by the United Nations. Today the US expressed concern about reports that the 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind will be running for office in Pakistan in 2018.

"I want to remind folks, we have a $10 million Reward for Justice programme that would reward for information that would bring him to justice," US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.