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Gates hopeful to reduce trust deficit with Pakistan

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates has expressed hope that the US over the period of time would be able to reduce the trust deficit with Pakistan, whom he identified as a key American ally in the war against terrorism.



Washington: US Secretary of Defence
Robert Gates has expressed hope that the United States over
the period of time would be able to reduce the trust deficit
with Pakistan, whom he identified as a key American ally in
the war against terrorism.

Responding to a question at the Command and General
Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Gates acknowledged
that this trust deficit, for which according to him the US is
responsible to some extent, is being exploited by religious
extremists and religious elites in Pakistan.

"Well, it`s not just the religious elite. There is
what we have called a deficit of trust between the United
States and Pakistan. And if you look at it from the
Pakistani`s standpoint, there is some justification for their
concerns," Gates said.

"I won`t even mention their attitude toward us with
respect to the wars with India, but just taking as an example
the way we turned our back upon Afghanistan in 1989, they
considered it an abandonment. And then we imposed sanctions on
them in 1992, thereabouts, that basically cut off our
military-to-military relationship for a dozen years," he said.

"So their view is that in several successive
instances, the United States has turned its back on Pakistan.

And the biggest question they have is, once you`re done in
Afghanistan, are you going home again, or do we have a
long-term relationship?" he said.

"And what we`ve been trying to do is convince both the
Pakistanis and the Afghans that once we`re successful in the
endeavour we`re in Afghanistan, that we intend to have a
long-term relationship with both countries, and that we aren`t
going to turn our backs on them," Gates said.
"Now, all these things are exploited by the extremists.

There`s no question about it. And I have to say,
regardless of the anti-American sentiment on the part of many
Pakistanis, what the Pakistani army has done in the northwest
frontier area and in South Waziristan and Swat and so on has
been immensely helpful to us," he said, adding that this has
been immensely helpful to us.

Noting that Pakistan Army is moving in a direction,
and they are taking action in places where he thought would
have been impossible some 18 moths or two years ago, Gates
said: "They are doing it because it`s in their own interest,
but they are willing more and more to work closely with us."

Gates said: "It`s going to proceed slowly, but I think
we are headed in the right direction. And I think that over
time we will be able to reduce that deficit of trust with
Pakistan as we show that we`re committed to staying there and
to developing the relationship over the long term."

PTI

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