India welcomes US suspension of aid to Pakistan

July 11th, 2011 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) India Monday welcomed the US decision to suspend abut $800 million in military aid to Pakistan, but also underlined its commitment to normalise relations with the neighbouring country with which it resumed a dialogue only a few months ago.

“With reference to the special circumstances between India and Pakistan and how India has consistently taken the view that it is not desirable that this region had to be heavily armed by the US which will upset the equilibrium in the region itself, to that extent, India welcomes this step,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters.

The decision is seen here as a vindication of India’s stand as it has has consistently voiced apprehensions that the aid given by the US and other Western powers to Pakistan has been used by the latter to bolster its military infrastructure targeted at New Delhi.

The aid being withheld accounts for more than a third of the $2 billion in annual security assistance given by the US to Pakistan. It includes about $300 million to cover the costs of deploying more than 100,000 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border as well as training assistance and military hardware, the New York Times reported.

In the same breath, India, however, underscored its commitment to normalise ties with Pakistan that plummeted to a low after the Nov 26-29, 2008 terror attack in Mumbai perpetrated by 10 Pakistani nationals.

“Simultaneously the U.S. must take note of the fact that we are working in a very committed manner to normalise our relations with Pakistan to reduce trust deficit, and efforts are on,” he said.

Krishna added that he was expecting his Pakistani counterpart to visit India around the end of this month to carry forward the dialogue process. The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan are expected to hold their talks July 26-27 to carry forward the dialogue process that was resumed in February after a hiatus of over two years following the Mumbai terror attack.

Krishna also condemned Monday’s suicide attack in Pakistan. “If this is an attack by terrorists or terror-oriented organisations, then India condemns all such attempts. India condemns terror attacks across the globe,” he said.

At least six people, including three policemen, were killed and 19 injured Monday in a suicide blast at a political gathering in Pakistan’s restive northwest region.

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