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'Actual aid to Pak to be much higher than $1.5 bn'

world Updated: Mar 28, 2009 15:06 IST

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The actual US aid to Pakistan is likely to be much higher that given figure of $1.5 billion for civilian purposes, as it will also include “substantial military aid” to help the country counter terrorists, a top American official for the region has said.

“Specific numbers would be worked out in the course of the next few weeks and months in the budget that has to go up to the Congress,” said Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs.

This is primarily because the talked about figure of $1.5 billion per annum of aid to Pakistan is only in the civilian and non-military field, in addition to which there is going to be a “substantial military aid” so as to help it successfully launch counter insurgency operations, Boucher told a group of South Asian journalists in Washington.

The Administration has made it clear that it wants to triple the non-military assistance, and with the military assistance, we could actually end up higher, he said.

The Kerry-Lugar bill, which would soon be introduced in the Congress, stipulates tripling of non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion for the next five years.

Boucher said this is not an administrative figure.

“It is not actually a budget number yet,” he said, adding he would consider this an approximate target.