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Pak unlikely to lose focus on India: Mullen

world Updated: May 21, 2009 10:42 IST

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A top US military official Thursday said Pakistan is unlikely to lose focus on India, even as it has begun to realise the serious threat posed by the terrorists within the country.

"It's my view they are not going to lose their focus on India," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Congressional hearing.

For quite some time now, the United States, including President Barack Obama, has been trying to impress upon the Pakistani leadership that their obsession that India is their primary threat is "misguided" and that Pakistan now faces an existential threat from the terrorists within the country.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had even told the US media in interviews early this month that he does not consider India as a primary threat.

Mullen's remarks came in response to a question from Congressman Norman Dicks who wanted to know from him about the progress made by the US efforts in this regard, during a hearing of the Defence Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

"There's been a lot of discussion about trying to get the Pakistanis to focus more on the insurgents and the Taliban and less on their concerns about India. Are we making any progress in that direction?" he asked, to which Mullen responded that they (Pakistan) still consider (India) a threat.

Mullen said, "They've got a challenge of literally two fights, a conventional fight or a conventional challenge and threat along with a counter insurgency challenge which they increasingly recognise."

"It is just going to take some time and our patience level with them is key to establish the long term relationship with them to one counter this threat, and two to have a relationship with them in that part of the world, which I think is absolutely critical," he added.