Saturday, May 8, 2010

India Warns U.S. Against Military Aid to Pakistan

India's defense minister cautioned the United States on Friday against military supplies to rival Pakistan, saying the hardware could be diverted to target India.
The warning came after the U.S. in March said it would deliver unarmed drones to Pakistan and less than a month after it unveiled plans to transfer 600 million dollars to Islamabad to pay for anti-militant operations.
A. K. Antony told reporters in New Delhi that India's concerns had been conveyed to Washington.
"Even though the U.S. is giving equipment to Pakistan to fight against the Taliban, we feel there is every possibility of [Pakistan] diverting most of them to the Indian borders," Antony said.
"We have already conveyed our concerns about transfer of equipment to Pakistan. We told the U.S. that they have to be careful about that," the Indian defense minister added.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi moved quickly to ease India's fears, saying the hardware would be used only against militants, who have been blamed for bomb attacks killing more than 3,300 people in his country.
"The military equipment that we are getting from the United States should not worry India, because it is meant for counter-terrorism and to enhance our capacity to fight terrorist networks," he told reporters in Lahore.
"They (India) should not be afraid of this because it will be used against terrorist networks who have made this region unsafe."
Pakistan, Washington's frontline ally in its battle against militancy, has domestically produced surveillance drones but it told the United States in March that it wanted sophisticated U.S.-made aircraft.
The Pentagon soon said it would deliver "within a year" about a dozen unarmed drones to Islamabad to aid its fight against Al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents in Pakistan.
The United States has said 600 million dollars would be paid to Pakistan to reimburse it for the operations over the past year against Islamist extremists.
India's military insists that some of the U.S.-supplied hardware and funds have been siphoned away by Pakistan allegedly to buttress its arsenal against its estranged South Asian neighbor.
The two countries have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.


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