Relations with Pak not at India`s expense: US

The US Friday announced USD 2.29 billion in new military aid to Pakistan.

Last Updated: Oct 23, 2010, 09:23 AM IST

Washington: As it announced a whopping
USD 2.29 billion in new military aid to Pakistan despite
India`s concerns in this regard, the US has said its ties with
Islamabad do not come at the expense of India and vice-versa.

"This is a subject (India`s concerns about US military
assistance to Pakistan) that comes up in all of our
discussions with high-level Indian officials. It comes up in
all of our discussions with high-level Pakistani officials,"
US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters when
asked about New Delhi`s concerns on the issue.

"We continue to provide the same message to both
countries. This is not a zero-sum proposition. Our assistance
to Pakistan does not come at the expense of India, and our
relationship with India does not come at the expense of
Pakistan," he said.

Less than a month ago, India`s Defence Minister AK
Antony in his meetings with US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton and Defence Secretary Robert Gates had expressed his
concerns that US military aid to Pakistan normally ends up
being used against India.

Clinton yesterday announced a new USD 2 billion
security assistance package for Pakistan, as she pushed
Islamabad to take stronger action against terrorists within
the country, thus ignoring India`s concerns.

She also announced another USD 29 million aid to Pakistan
in International Military Education and Training (IMET), thus
increasing the total aid package to USD 2.29 billion.

"This is a subject (India`s concerns about US military
assistance to Pakistan) that comes up in all of our
discussions with high-level Indian officials. It comes up in
all of our discussions with high-level Pakistani officials,"
Crowley told reporters when
asked about India`s concerns in this regard.

"We continue to provide the same message to both
countries. This is not a zero-sum proposition. Our assistance
to Pakistan does not come at the expense of India, and our
relationship with India does not come at the expense of
Pakistan," he said.

Crowley, however, dodged the question on if there is
any safeguard in the aid package to prevent Pakistan from
diverting the money from counter-insurgency or counter-
terrorism purposes.

"Well, all countries are sovereign, but by the same
token, we`ve tailored this package we believe to improve
training and equipping that is focused on our counter-
insurgency programmes," he said.

PTI