France puts sale of heavy military hardware to Pakistan on holdMay 27th, 2011 - 3:29 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) France said Friday it has put on hold the sale of heavy military equipment to Pakistan and awaits an explanation on its spy agency’s role in the 2008 Mumbai terror strike and in providing a safe haven for Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US strike May 2.
It has also expressed the hope that Pakistan’s dialogue with US on terrorism would throw light on questions that have cropped up in the wake of Osama’s killing on its soil.
French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet told reporters here that Osama’s killing in Pakistan’s garrison town of Abbottabad, close to capital Islamabad, had raised a lot of questions that needed answers.
Though Longuet did not name the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), he was alluding to the suspected role of the Pakistan’s spy agency in sheltering Osama.
On the sale of military equipment to Pakistan by France, Longuet said till the time Pakistan’s clarifications were not satisfactory, it would not sell heavy defence hardware.
“This point was raised during the bilateral meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Paris recently. I can tell you that France is only selling Pakistan equipment that can be used for electronic interception to fight terror,” the French defence minister, who wound up his two-day visit to India, said.
“In fact, heavy military equipment is not being sold. We have discouraged any request from Pakistan for heavy equipment,” he added.
Asked about the recent revelations on ISI’s involvement with the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike, Longuet said: “Terror cannot be a weapon of anybody or any government.”
“After the death of Osama bin Laden, Pakistan should be given an opportunity to explain its position vis-a-vis terrorism,” he added.
Noting that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Islamabad Friday, Longuet said France was keenly watching the discussions between the US and Pakistan on terrorism and was awaiting the outcomes of the talks.
Lamenting that the US was not openly sharing all the information on terror that it receives from Pakistan with its coalition partners, including France, he said at least now, the information would be shared.
“We are waiting for those clarifications. It is not a matter of a few days, a few months or a few years,” he said when asked how long this review of defence supplies to Pakistan would go on.
On his meeting with Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony Thursday, Longuet said his counterpart wanted to know about France’s opinion on Afghanistan after Osama’s killing. “I said we are in the framework of the (US-led) coalition and we are aiming at progressive transition by 2014. We stick to that commitment,” he added.
Hailing India as “a strategic partner” of France in this part of the globe, Longuet said the South Asian giant was “a factor of stability and peace” in the world and that was the reason France supports New Delhi’s candidature as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council whenever reforms take place.
Longuet said his visit to India was part of the strategic bilateral agreement between the two countries and a follow-up to the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to India in late 2010.
Noting that the defence relationship between the two nations was going strong, he said it had translated into sophisticated war games and training between their armed forces.
Apart from the Garuda series of air exercises and Varuna naval exercises, the two countries would launch their Shakti series of army exercises this year.
- France not to sell heavy military hardware to Pakistan (Lead) - May 27, 2011
- Pakistani army dismisses WikiLeaks' Osama allegations - Feb 29, 2012
- Abbottabad operation was unlawful, says Amnesty - May 24, 2012
- ISI chief to visit US - Jul 13, 2011
- Osama killing will not end terrorism: CPI-M - May 03, 2011
- ISI considers US its worst enemy, says jailed doctor - Sep 11, 2012
- Catfight between Osama wives: Third accuses first of betrayal - Mar 15, 2012
- Three Al Qaeda leaders arrested in Pakistan - Sep 06, 2011
- Pakistan spy chief to visit US - Jul 29, 2012
- CIA chief meets Kayani, ISI chief - Jun 11, 2011
- ISI has political wing, admits minister - Mar 13, 2012
- ISI, Pakistan Army knew about Osama hideout: WikiLeaks - Feb 28, 2012
- Did Pakistan know of US raid to kill Osama? - May 02, 2011
- ISI chief leaves for Washington for day's visit (Second Lead) - Jul 13, 2011
- US to respect Pakistani's sovereignty: ISI chief - Jul 17, 2011
Tags: capital islamabad, clarifications, defence minister, electronic interception, french defence, garrison town, gerard longuet, gilani, heavy equipment, hillary clinton, inter services, isi, military equipment, military hardware, osama bin laden, raza, safe haven, spy agency, time pakistan, yousuf