Relations with Pakistan not at India`s expense: US

As it announced a whopping $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.

Washington: As it announced a whopping $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 P J 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.

Crowley, however, dodged the question on 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.

"We are committed to a multi-year programme that will involve working with Congress on annual appropriations," Crowley said when asked whether in the request to Congress there are any provisions for yearly monitoring of the US aid to Pakistan.

He said the US wants to see a secure, stable peaceful region.

"It is in our interest expressly because there are extremists in the region that threaten countries there and countries here in the West," he said.

"We want to see a continuation of the kind of determined effort that Pakistan has shown over the past year or so, and what we`re seeing here is an investment in the very capabilities that we believe can help Pakistan continue to carry out its counterinsurgency responsibilities," Crowley said while defending the Obama Administration`s decision to give fresh military aid package to Pakistan.
Less than a month ago, India`s Defence Minister A K 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 on Friday announced a new $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 29 million aid to Pakistan in International Military Education and Training (IMET), thus increasing the total aid package to $2.29 billion.

PTI

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