Obama links Pakistan aid to fight against terror (Lead)

January 21st, 2009 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 21 (IANS) The new Obama administration has served notice to Pakistan that it will hold Islamabad accountable for security in the border region with Afghanistan even while it increases non-military aid to its ally in the fight against terror.Announcing its foreign policy on the White House website soon after it took over at one minute past noon Tuesday, the administration said President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden “will renew America’s security and standing in the world through a new era of American leadership”.

The Obama-Biden foreign policy will end the war in Iraq responsibly, finish the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, secure nuclear weapons and loose nuclear materials from terrorists, and renew American diplomacy to support strong alliances and to seek a lasting peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it said.

“Obama and Biden will increase non-military aid to Pakistan and hold them accountable for security in the border region with Afghanistan,” it said.

In Afghanistan, they “will refocus American resources on the greatest threat to our security - the resurgence of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan”.

But the foreign policy document surprisingly makes no mention of India, even as it talks of ushering in a new era “of international cooperation that strengthens old partnerships and builds new ones to confront the common challenges of the 21st century - terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease”.

While the Bush administration prided itself on forging a new strategic partnership with India, in Obama’s scheme of things New Delhi finds no place even in the broader context of “seeking new partnerships in Asia”.

“Obama and Biden will forge a more effective framework in Asia that goes beyond bilateral agreements, occasional summits, and ad hoc arrangements, such as the six-party talks on North Korea,” the website document said.

“They will maintain strong ties with allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia; work to build an infrastructure with countries in East Asia that can promote stability and prosperity; and work to ensure that China plays by international rules,” it added.

Describing the threat of a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon and the spread of nuclear weapons to dangerous regimes as “the gravest danger to the American people”, the agenda said the new team will contain “all loose nuclear materials in the world within four years”.

While working to secure existing stockpiles of nuclear material, they will negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production of new nuclear weapons material, the agenda said. “This will deny terrorists the ability to steal or buy loose nuclear materials.”

The new team will also crack down on nuclear proliferation by strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so that countries like North Korea and Iran that break the rules will automatically face strong international sanctions.

Setting a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, the agenda said the new team “will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. But they will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons”.

“They will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take US and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in US and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the US.”

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