Washington: At a time when top US lawmakers have expressed concerns over the Obama Administration's decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump has hinted at seeking help from India to address the "problem" of a "semi-unstable" nuclear-armed Pakistan.
During a town-hall in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Trump was asked by an interviewer: "We've given them (Pakistan) money and they've double dealt us."
To this, Trump replied: "Yes, but the problem with Pakistan, where they have nuclear weapons -- which is a real problem."
"The single biggest problem we have is nuclear weapons, you know, countries with them. And it's not only a country, you have nine countries right now with nuclear weapons.”
"But Pakistan is semi-unstable. We don't want to see total instability. It's not that much, relatively speaking. We have a little bit of a good relationship. I think I'd try and keep it," said Trump.
"It is very much against my grain to say that, but a country -- and that's always the country, I think, you know, we give them money and we help them out, but if we don't, I think that would go on the other side of the ledger and that could really be a disaster," Trump said, without explaining what that disaster would be.
"At the same time, if you look at India and some of the others, maybe they'll be helping us out, because we're going to look at it. We have many, many countries that we give a lot of money to and we get absolutely nothing in return and that's going to stop fast," Trump said.
Trump's remarks came on a day when lawmakers questioned the rationale of the Obama administration to give billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan without desired results.
"Despite giving Pakistan enormous amounts of counter terror assistance over the years, over USD 25 billion since 9/11, terrorist organisations continue to operate with impunity in Pakistan. Pakistan has used terror as a tool of statecraft and terrorist proxy groups for the Pakistani military have carried out fatal attacks inside India," Congressman Matt Salmon said during a Congressional hearing.
State Department has request USD 742.2 million in aid to Pakistan for 2016-2017 including USD 472.4 million in civilian assistance and USD 269.8 million in security assistance.
"Pakistan is a nation of 180 million people with a history of terrorist activities, roughly 100 nuclear weapons and a very confused body politic," said Congressman Brad Sherman.
"We've got a be concerned what military assistance and whether the F-16s constitute the least expensive, most efficient way for the Pakistani air force to go after the terrorists and the least disruptive weapon system to the balance of power between India and Pakistan. We need to offer to Pakistan those weapon systems well-crafted to go after terrorists and not crafted for a war with India," he said.
(With PTI inputs)