US says aid to Pakistan no threat to India

July 28th, 2010 - 10:23 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 28 (IANS) Even as it downplays revelations about the “historic relationship” between Pakistan’s spy agency ISI and extremist groups, the United States assured New Delhi that its military aid to Pakistan posed no threat to India.

“A stable Pakistan is not a threat to India. A stable India does not need to be a threat to Pakistan,” state department spokesman Phillip Crowley told reporters Tuesday when asked how does the US make sure that its aid is not used for supporting terror across the border against India.

“In giving military assistance to Pakistan, we have systems of accountability to be sure that it is being employed in accordance with the agreements that we have with Pakistan,” he said.

“Where we have questions about the nature of Pakistani employment of US assistance, we raise those questions directly with the Pakistani Government. We have in the past and we will continue to do that.”

“So building up the capability of Pakistan to deal with the threat within its own borders should not be seen as a threat to India,” Crowley said.

Asked if the US had spoken to Pakistani Government about the role of its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate in Mumbai attacks since the leak of secret military documents, he said: “We have talked to Pakistan about our mutual concerns on terrorism many, many times going back months and years.”

Crowley said he could not say “that we’ve had a substantive conversation about this” since the leaks. “But there are concerns about making sure that Pakistan bring to justice those responsible for the Mumbai attack.”

“We’ve had that conversation with Pakistan and India many, many times. And our concerns about elements within Pakistan and connections that those elements have with the Pakistani Government, we’ve had that conversation with Pakistan many times.”

Asked to comment on Afghanistan’s call to US needs to do something about Pakistan intelligence, he said: “Certainly the relationship among Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, the tensions that have historically existed in the region, this is not a startling revelation. It’s been central to our revised strategy over the past year.

“So we’re very conscious of the history among these countries in the region. We’ve worked hard to try to help each understand the interests and needs of the other,” he said. “It is important for Afghanistan and Pakistan to have a stable relationship. It is important for Pakistan and India to have a stable relationship.”

The US had “worked hard across the region to try to move countries beyond a zero-sum mentality,” Crowley said adding, “Pakistan has an interest in what happens in Afghanistan. So does India.”

“And likewise, going in the other direction, Afghanistan has an interest in what goes on in countries that border it, whether it’s Pakistan and India on one side, or Iran on the other.”

So the US has “strong relationships with each of these countries,” Crowley said asserting, “We have important national and global interests with each of these countries. Our support for Afghanistan is not taken from Pakistan. Our support for Pakistan does not mean a negative for India.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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