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Conditional non-military aid to Pakistan: US

world Updated: Jan 21, 2009 13:43 IST

The new Obama administration has cautioned Pakistan that it would be held accountable for the security in the border regions of Afghanistan and that its performance in the fight against terrorism would be linked to the financial aid to it.

"(President Barack) Obama and (Vice President Joe) Biden will increase non-military aid to Pakistan and hold them accountable for security in the border region with Afghanistan," the White House said in its foreign policy agenda document released soon after Obama occupied the Oval office.

Biden, a known expert on Afghanistan and Pakistan, then in the capacity as the Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had introduced legislation in the US Senate in this regard.

Co-authored jointly by the Republican Senator, Richard Lugar, the legislation proposes to triple non-military aid to Pakistan in the next five years.

The legislation authorises USD 7.5 billion over five years in aid that can be used for development purposes, such as building schools, roads and clinics. The bill also calls for greater accountability on security assistance, to improve Pakistani counterterrorism capabilities and ensure more effective efforts against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The foreign policy agenda of the Obama administration on Pakistan is in tune with the well known policies of Biden, which was also echoed by the Secretary of State-designate, Hillary Clinton during her nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee early this month.

As the key points of the Obama's foreign policy agenda revealed yesterday indicated, the new administration is expected to follow the key elements of Biden-Lugar proposals introduced last year. In lieu of USD 1.5 billion of non-military aid to Pakistan, Islamabad would be required to making concerted efforts to prevent al-Qaeda and associated terrorist groups from operating in its territory and make concerted efforts to prevent the Taliban from using its territory as a sanctuary to launch attacks within Afghanistan.

Islamabad would also need to ensure that it does not materially interfere in the political or judicial processes of the country, the legislation says.