The US on Friday sought to allay concerns in Pakistan over President Barack Obama’s recent visit to India and the nuclear deal breakthrough, saying it values its relationship with both countries.
Both relationships “are strong, they’re vital to our strategic interests, and stand on their own,” said state department spokesperson Jen Psaki.
Feeling a sense of abandonment, Pakistan has warily observed the deepening ties between India and the US. Islamabad hasn’t had a presidential visit in recent years while incumbent Obama has visited India twice in his two terms. Pakistan has also lobbied for a nuclear deal with the US but hasn’t succeeded yet.
Addressing concerns on the deal in Pakistan, Psaki said, “It’s an understanding on an administrative arrangement for implementing the US-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement.” The “understanding on an administrative arrangement” was a major highlight of Obama’s visit, one that the US president himself described as a “breakthrough”.
Pakistan is worried, among other things, of the strategic impact of the deal — what if India diverted some of the nuclear material towards its weapons programme.
“As you know, there are a range of requirements in these type of deals, and certainly, we factor in a range of factors as we make them,” said Psaki.
The US is keenly aware of the unease in Islamabad, and has tried to address it. Secretary of state John Kerry visited Pakistan on his way back from India recently, which Psaki said, reiterated US commitment to ties with Pakistan.