US assistance to Pakistan helps reduce terrorism: Kerry
Washington: The US assistance to Pakistan has helped in reducing the conditions that foment extremism in the country, US Secretary of State John Kerry said as the State Department in its annual budget sought USD 1.3 billion in economic and military assistance for the South Asian nation.
"Our economic and military assistance to Pakistan helps reduce the conditions that enable extremism and its calling card - terrorism - to disrupt and destroy," said John Kerry in an eight-page budget letter to the US Congress yesterday.
"We are helping Pakistan to continue its development as a responsible and responsive international partner. For Pakistan we request USD 1.3 billion in Financial Year 2014 to fund civil and military assistance along with supporting the existing diplomatic platform," Kerry said.
According to a State Department fact sheet, the budgetary provisions for Pakistan includes programs that increase stability, strengthens democratic institutions and helps in countering violent extremism.
It also invests in energy, economic growth, stabilisation of border areas, education, health and counter insurgency and counter terrorism capabilities.
The budgetary provisions support the US Government's civilian presence in the country and modernises security forces but eliminates the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, the State Department said.
"In Pakistan, we're looking at programs to make sure that we are putting the dollar where it's going to have the greatest impact," the State Department said.
The USD 1.3 billion proposed by the State Department includes USD 860 million as non-military assistance and about USD 300 million as military assistance.
On foreign military financing (FMF), it said, "there were implementation issues, but also we feel our FMF program is the primary way we're going to be dealing with the security relationship at this point with the Pakistanis."
The USD 1.3 billion aid to Pakistan is in addition to the USD 1.4 billion proposed by the President Barack Obama in his annual budget under the overseas contingency operations (OCO).
This is an increase of 40 percent in budget allocation in this regard as USD 1 billion was proposed in 2013.