UNITED NATIONS A new study by a US think-tank Monday urged the Obama administration to consider offering Pakistan a civilian nuclear deal in return for a real and verifiable commitment to eradicate all militant groups operating from its territory. Pakistan has come to view US assistance as an entitlement. Therefore, offering more aid (as in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation) is unlikely to persuade Pakistan to stop using militants as a tool of foreign policy, said the report by Seth Jones and Christine Fair of Rand Corporation. Rand is a non-profit study group frequently hired by the Pentagon. The report was produced by a division of RAND that receives Pentagon funding. The study called on the administration to come up with imaginative incentives for Pakistan. Among the incentives could be a criteria-based civilian nuclear deal for Pakistan, roughly modelled on the agreement with India. Under this deal, India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and place its civil nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards in return for nuclear cooperation with the United States. Neither India nor Pakistan have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is aimed at controlling the spread of nuclear weapons. The explicit criteria could be tied to access to (Pakistani nuclear scientist) AQ Khan, greater visibility into Pakistans programme, submission to safeguards, a strategic decision to abandon militancy as a tool of foreign and domestic policy, and empirically verifiable metrics in eliminating militant groups operating in and from Pakistan, the report says. Such a civilian nuclear deal could achieve the goals that Kerry-Lugar-Berman could not because it would offer Pakistan benefits that it actually values and that only the United States can meaningfully confer. It acknowledges that a nuclear deal would not be an easy sell in either Washington or in Islamabad, much less in Delhi. But given President Barack Obamas publicly stated desire to enlist Chinas help in stabilising Pakistan, it will be interesting to see whether the two can find some convergence of interest - both on Pakistans civilian nuclear programme and on tackling militancy. A key objective of US policy must be to alter Pakistans strategic calculus and end its support to militant groups. Pakistan is unlikely to abandon militancy as a tool of foreign policy without a serious effort to alter its cost-benefit calculus. This requires the United States to clarify what its goals are, develop an international consensus on most (if not all) of these goals, and issue a clear demand to Pakistan regarding these objectives, it said. The report echoes a charge often levelled at Pakistan that it is only willing to tackle those militant organisations which threaten it directly, while retaining links with groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Taiba which can be used to expand its influence in Afghanistan or against India. It argues that Washington needs to find a new mix of incentives and sanctions to convince Pakistan to abandon the use of militant groups as a foreign policy tool. Its suggestion that Washington - which has already concluded a nuclear deal with India - consider using the offer of a nuclear agreement with Pakistan as an incentive comes as Pakistan pursues its efforts to secure nuclear cooperation from China. The report says that while Pakistan faces many difficulties in tackling militant groups on its border with Afghanistan or it its heartland Punjab province, Pakistans challenges are due as much to political will as to deficiencies in capability. Pakistan says it cannot tackle all militant groups at once and has complained about US pressure to do more when its army is already taking heavy casualties fighting the Tehrik-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP) in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. The report said, At least three types of militant groups receive state support. First are those groups that Pakistan cultivated as state assets and that remain state proxies, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Mullah Mohammad Omars Taliban. In some cases, such as the 2010 capture of the Talibans second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Pakistan has been willing to target selected members, it says. A second group comprises militant groups, such as Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami, that have a history of state patronage and have long served the state in Afghanistan and India. However, unlike Lashkar-e-Taiba or the Afghan Taliban, these groups developed important fissures that emerged after 2001 in response to Pakistans participation in the US-led war on terrorism. Elements of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami, and other Deobandi militant groups were involved in attacks against President Musharraf, the army, ISI, and Pakistans civilian leadership. Some individuals from these Deobandi militant groups have also allied with the TTP. Even though elements of these groups have targeted the state, Pakistan has not opted to eliminate them. Rather, the strategy appears to be targeting only the individuals who threaten the state and deterring other group members from conducting attacks in Pakistan. These groups generally remain secure, perhaps because the state presumes that they may be useful at some point for pursuing Pakistans interests. A third set of militants includes the TTP and elements of TNSM (Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi). In some cases, Pakistani government officials have provided support to militants in these organizations and negotiated peace deals ... In other cases, such as in 2009 in South Waziristan and Swat, it has targeted them when they pose a threat to the Pakistan state. It argues that the United States must work with other countries, including China, to convince Pakistan to abandon support for all militant groups. Among the sanctions Washington could consider if this did not happen would be to include Pakistan on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, or applying economic sanctions and visa bans on specific individuals or organisations, rather than on the country as a whole. The report says the May 1 failed car bombing in New Yorks Times Square is an example of how militant groups, some with shadowy government backing, can increasingly export terrorism far beyond the countrys borders. The US isnt getting its moneys worth for all the billions in aid pledged to the strategically located, nuclear-armed nation, the report concludes. The US should withhold some aid until Pakistan makes discernible progress, the authors of the report wrote. The authors chart long government support or tolerance for some extremist or terrorist groups, including Taliban networks in the border regions near Afghanistan. The report says the US has had limited success in encouraging Pakistan to cut ties to extremists, while Pakistans Army has had limited success in a series of military campaigns against extremist networks over the last year. The report examines how Pakistan has furthered US goals in hunting some terrorists and sometimes undermined US interests at the same time. It notes, as numerous US leaders have done, that anti-American sentiment is high in Pakistan, while support for government campaigns against militants is low. There is enduring suspicion among government leaders that the US has ulterior motives or is insincere in offers of help. The US should lessen its reliance on Pakistan where it can, the report concluded, such as seeking additional alternate land routes for re-supplying the war in Afghanistan. One such alternative would be a route through Iran, the report said. Iran and the United States have no diplomatic ties and a record of three decades of antagonistic relations. Once-promising cooperation after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 fizzled.