While some in Pakistan have for long been crying hoarse over growing Indian subversive activities in Pakistan through Afghanistan, the latest confirmation of this came from US defence secretary nominee Senator Chuck Hagel who in a previously unreleased video suggested that India has over the years “financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.”
Hagel in a talk on Afghanistan at the Cameron University in Oklahoma in 2011 said that India has been using Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. “India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border, and you can carry that into many dimensions.”
The 2011 video had not been released previously, and only came to light after it was uploaded on to video sharing website by Washington Free Beacon.
Hagel was nominated by President Barack Obama in January to replace US defence secretary Leon Panetta. He is due to hear a verdict on on his confirmation by the US Senate on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in Washington has decried Hagel’s statement. An Indian embassy spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon that Hagel’s statement was not grounded in “reality”.
“Such comments attributed to Senator Hagel, who has been a long-standing friend of India and a prominent votary of close India-US relations, are contrary to the reality of India’s unbounded dedication to the welfare of the Afghan people,” the spokesperson said.
“India’s commitment to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is unwavering, and this is reflected in our significant assistance to Afghanistan in developing its economy, infrastructure and institutional capacities.”
The spokesperson, seeking to dispel the notion that India may have sponsored terrorism, added that “India’s development assistance has been deeply appreciated by the people and the Government of Afghanistan, and by our friends around the world, including the United States,” and that “We [India] do not view our engagement with Afghanistan as a zero sum game.”
“India and the United States have a shared perspective and a deep convergence of interests for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the spokesperson added. “We will continue to work to help the Afghan people build a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and inclusive future for themselves in an environment free from terror and intimidation.”
”Our opposition to terrorism and its safe havens in our neighborhood is firm and unshakeable,” the statement added.