US envoy Nikki Haley goes on inter-faith journey in India

Nikki Haley, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, said Thursday her country is urging Pakistan more strongly not to give safe haven to terrorists.

She said Pakistan has been cooperating with the United States, but Washington cannot accept any government protecting terrorists.

“We are communicating this message to Pakistan more strongly than in the past and we hope to see changes,” Haley told members of the Observer Research Foundation, an Indian think tank.

Pakistan’s cooperation is seen as key to the success of President Donald Trump’s Afghanistan policy.

Pakistan is under pressure from Washington and the Afghan government to stop offering safe haven to militants blamed for attacks in Afghanistan, a charge Islamabad denies. Pakistan also insists its influence over the Taliban has been exaggerated.

India has also blamed a Pakistan-based group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, for attacks on Mumbai in November 2008 that killed 166 people. The U.S. has designated the group a terrorist organization.

Haley said China was an important country and the United States, like India, sought a productive relationship with it.

“But, unlike India, China does not share our commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental freedoms. This makes China’s expansion of loans and investments in countries in the region a matter of concern for many of us,” she said.

Haley said a failure by China to respect the rights of its people and the rule of law would limit its ability to grow and prosper over the long term, and this would limit the United States’ relationship with China.

Earlier in the day, Haley undertook an interfaith journey in New Delhi, visiting a Hindu temple, a Sikh shrine, a mosque and a church in old parts of the capital.

Haley, who was born in South Carolina to Sikh immigrants from the northern Indian state of Punjab, rolled breads at the Sikh shrine, a religious way of paying obeisance to Sikh gurus.

After visiting the Jama Masjid, one of India’s largest mosques, she interacted with a child sitting outside.

She is on her first visit to India since becoming the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2017. She met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday.

Haley visited India in 2014 when she was governor of South Carolina.