US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said relations with Islamabad will be adversely affected if it fails to act against the Taliban. Pakistan finds itself in a position where it faces grave threats from both its eastern and western borders. The Indian posture towards Pakistan has hardened after the Mumbai attacks, while extremists are putting the country's integrity in jeopardy. Pakistan is being asked to change its approach towards India, as the "existential threat" that Pakistan faces comes from internal extremists and not India. To many in Pakistan, this is a one-sided view which fails to take into cognizance the ground realities in South Asia. The Kashmir issue which is the root cause of hostility between the two South Asian neighbours remains unresolved, thanks to New Delhi's obduracy. Unrest in Kashmir, caused by Indian occupation, has a direct impact on Pakistanis who have religious, ethnic and historical ties with Kashmiris. With all Pakistani rivers except one originating from Kashmir, the core issue has economic implications for the country. Pakistan wants a peaceful resolution of the problem. For this, it has tried its level best to persuade India to come to the negotiating table. India has invariably invented one excuse after another to wriggle out of talks. Knowing well that the Pakistan government had nothing to do with the attack, India unilaterally called off talks after the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan is pressing India to resume the composite dialogue while India continues to refuse. The Indian elections have in fact hardened New Delhi's stance. This leaves Pakistan with no option but to station the bulk of its troops on its eastern borders. This has provided an ideal opportunity to the extremists in FATA and Swat to expand their activities as events taking place during the last week amply indicate. First the Taliban consolidated their hold on strategic Buner, then they advanced to Shangla. They successfully impeded the movement of the Frontier Constabulary by ambushing a police van which was piloting units of the civil armed forces. Earlier statements by Sufi Mohammad and TTP's Swat spokesman Muslim Khan had made many in Pakistan realize the implications of the threat posed by extremists to the integrity of the country. The advance of the Taliban into Buner and Shangla has shaken many out of their complacency. One can understand the concern being expressed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US joint chiefs chairman Adm Mike Mullen. However, asking Pakistan to do more, and wringing hands or advancing implicit threats when it refuses to shift troop from the eastern border, will not do. Washington should instead move ahead to persuade India to normalize relations with Pakistan and show willingness to address the core issue of Kashmir. This would help Islamabad divert full attention and all resources to fighting the extremists.