NEW DEHLI: A senior US defence official sought on Tuesday to soothe India’s concerns about US weapons supplies to Pakistan.
US Undersecretary for Defence Michelle Flournoy told reporters in New Delhi that Washington was “clearly observing” how these arms were being used by Pakistan.
The United States is “mindful of these concerns as we take steps to support the equipping of Pakistan for the current counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism purposes,” she said at the end of a two-day trip to India.
Indian Defence Minister AK Antony said last month that the scale of US military assistance to Pakistan was “disproportionate to the war on terror” for which it was intended. “We feel that there is every possibility of diverting this sophisticated equipment against India,” Antony said, during talks with the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.
India has previously protested the proposed delivery of unmanned US drones to Pakistan. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since the division of the subcontinent in 1947, and their relationship is beset by mutual mistrust.
Washington sees Pakistan as integral to winning the war in Afghanistan, as Taliban and al Qaeda-linked insurgents targeting coalition forces roam the mountainous region dividing the two countries. Pakistan receives more than one billion dollars a year from Washington for its help combating the militants.