India for monitoring mechanism to stop misuse of US aid to Pak
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Last Updated: Friday, July 23, 2010, 20:54
New Delhi: Voicing concern over the misuse of US military aid by Pakistan, India on Friday asked America to set up a "monitoring mechanism" as a remedial measure, but got no clear assurance in this regard.

Defence Minister A K Antony, while receiving US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen here, told him about India's worries that Pakistan was diverting the American military assistance to building capacities against India.

Antony said arms aid to Pakistan, worth billions of dollars annually, was "disproportionate to the war on terror" for which it was intended and the US should ensure it was used only for the purpose meant for.

During the 45-minute meeting, the Defence Minister suggested that the US should set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure that there was no diversion of the aid which Pakistan receives, Defence Ministry sources said.

Later, when asked about India's concerns, Mullen told reporters that the military aid to Pakistan did not in any way "greatly imbalance" its capabilities vis-a-vis India.

Asked whether the US would take a re-look at the assistance if India provided evidence of misuse by Pakistan, he termed it as a "hypothetical" question but said if there was a change in use of the weapon systems, the US would look at it.

"As far as the systems that we are selling them and providing them, they are systems that very specifically are to be used and have been used against the terrorists threat within their own country," he said.

Mullen, who also met Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, said the issue of diversion of US military aid by Pakistan was raised by the Indian political and military leadership during his meetings with them.

He said the US encourages India to "keep it on the table".

However, the American Admiral said the US weapon sales to and cooperation with Pakistan was "reflective" of growing relations and friendship between the two countries.

"We are broadening the relationship with Pakistan and it is relationship that was cut off for almost a dozen years. We are trying to re-establish the trust with Pakistan which was virtually eliminated when we stopped the relationship in 1990. Certainly, we have expressed very strong desire on where these weapon systems should be used and the resources as well," he added.

His comments assume significance as these come close on the heels of the statement by US Special Envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke that American efforts to improve relations with Pakistan was not bad for India.

Holbrooke said here yesterday that it was in the interest of India if relations between the US and Pakistan became better.


First Published: Friday, July 23, 2010, 20:54

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