Howard Berman meets PM, discusses AfPak crisis

April 18th, 2009 - 12:34 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) A US Congressional delegation led by House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Howard Berman met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday and discussed terrorism and the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Berman is leading a seven-member delegation, including Congressmen Gary Ackerman, Ted Royce and Jim Costa to India.

The Congressional delegation also met National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon.

Issues relating to the worsening security situation in Pakistan, the deal with the Taliban in Swat Valley in the North West Frontier Province and the growing violence in Afghanistan figured prominently in discussions between the two sides, reliable sources said.

Indian officials conveyed New Delhi’s reservations about giving aid worth billions of dollars to Pakistan which, it fears, may be diverted for anti-India terror activities.

Berman comes here days after introducing the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement (PEACE) Bill in the US Congress which links aid to Pakistan to commitments on ending terror activities against India.

The bill seeks to give $1.5 billion a year for five years to Pakistan in economic and social assistance sectors.

India’s role in stabilizing the violence-torn Afghanistan was also discussed. Last month, US President Barack Obama unveiled the US AfPak policy, which envisages the setting up of a regional contact group comprising India, China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states for stabilizing the AfPak region.

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