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Obsession with India as threat is misguided: Obama tells Pakistan

world Updated: Apr 30, 2009 08:15 IST

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US President Barack Obama on Thursday told Pakistan that its "obsession" with India as a moral threat is misguided as the "biggest threat" to it comes internally.

Voicing concern over the "grave situation" in Pakistan, Obama exuded confidence that the US would make sure that Islamabad's nuclear weapons are "are safe and secure".

"You're starting to see some recognition just in the last few days that the obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan has been misguided, and that their biggest threat right now comes internally.

"You're starting to see the Pakistani military take much more seriously the armed threat from militant extremists," Obama told his third prime-time nationally televised press conference since assuming office on January 20.

On Pakistan's nuclear arsenals, he said: "I'm confident that we can make sure that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is secure. Primarily, initially, because the Pakistani army, I think, recognises the hazards of those weapons falling into the wrong hands."

"We've got strong military-to-military consultation and cooperation," he said.

Obama, who completed his first 100 days in office today, said the civilian government in Pakistan is "very fragile" and doesn't have the capacity to even deliver the basic services to its citizens.

"I'm more concerned that the civilian government there right now is very fragile and don't seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services: schools, health care, rule of law, a judicial system that works for the majority of the people," Obama said.

As a consequence, Obama said: "It is very difficult for them to gain the support and the loyalty of their people.

"So we need to help Pakistan help Pakistanis. I think that there's a recognition increasingly on the part of both the civilian government there and the army that that is their biggest weakness," he said.

The US President said his administration wants to continue to encourage Pakistan to move in that direction.

"We will provide them all of the cooperation that we can. We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don't end up having a nuclear-armed militant state," Obama said.