Bush Administration taking a tougher line on providing military aid to Pakistan: US expert

May 18th, 2008 - 12:21 am ICT by admin  

F-16

Washington, May 17 (ANI): Daniel Markey, a South Asia expert at the US Council on Foreign Relations, said on Saturday that Washington is more circumspect about providing military equipment to Pakistan as it feels that much of the money is used by the South Asian country to stoke up terror attacks against arch enemy India, rather than fighting the Al Qaedas terror network.

In June 2004, the United States declared Pakistan to be a major non-NATO ally, making it easier to supply arms.

However, Markey felt that in view of the present political turmoil in Pakistan, there is a growing perception in the US that arms supply to Pakistan would be mismanaged.

If the Pakistani army is asking for this sort of assistance in terms of counter insurgency, counter terror type assistance then it will be in our (US) interest to help them with that. It’s the bigger ticket, other items, things that we’ve had a lot of debate over, F-16’s in the past, questions about how large ticket sort of receipts of upto billions of dollars of US assistance have been used with relative oversight, said Markey.

These are the areas where there is going to be more of divergence between the Pakistani army and the US government. I think the US congress and also the Bush Administration in recent years have been reluctant to sign blank cheques and that’s where we are going to run up into difficulties, he added.

Daniel added that India will also be dismayed if any type of military help or funding for military purpose is provided to Pakistan even if it is to counter terrorism, as India feels that any type of military assistance to Pakistan will be used against it.

I think that India will be to some degree dismayed no matter what sort of assistance US provides to Pakistan. There is still a kind of deeper belief in New Delhi that any sort of military assistance provided by Washington to Islamabad is in some way beneficial to the fight against India but at the same time as long as that kind of assistance is more targeted to items that are less obviously useful for the fight against India than that will seize some of their outstanding concerns, said Markey.

In a departure from its past practice of pouring in millions of dollars of American military aid to Pakistan without having to show results in the fight against Al Qaeda and other militant groups, the Pentagon in February this year rejected or deferred millions of dollars in military aid requests from Pakistan amid criticism that the Islamabad government has squandered U.S. funding and allowed Al Qaeda to rebuild a haven in its western tribal regions.

U.S. officials have said that Pakistan used much of the U.S. military aid to pay for heavy equipment better suited for a regional conflict with its archenemy India than for anti-insurgency operations in the frontier territories. (ANI)

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