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'Pak will not use weapons against India'

The US, which is offering a range of sophisticated weapons to Pakistan to fight terrorists, is confident that these will not be used against India "in any way" and promised to ensure that the armaments are not misused through end-use monitoring.

world Updated: Jun 03, 2010 18:57 IST

The US, which is offering a range of sophisticated weapons to Pakistan to fight terrorists, is confident that these will not be used against India "in any way" and promised to ensure that the armaments are not misused through end-use monitoring.

"They are not to be used against India in any way," Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake has said.

"This is a question I often receive, and I'd like to reassure all of our friends in India that whatever military assistance we are providing to Pakistan is to be used in its fight against terrorism - particularly in its border areas with Afghanistan," Blake said yesterday during a webchat ahead of the US-India Strategic Dialogue in Washington.

He acknowledged that the Obama Administration was providing a range of counterterrorism platforms and counterinsurgency platforms to Pakistan.

"And these are things, really, that are going to be used against the militants who are based in these border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are not to be used against India in any way," he asserted.

"So, again, I'd like to reassure all of our participants in this dialogue that that is the purpose for which we are transferring arms to Pakistan.

He also said that the US will also undertake "through" end-use monitoring so that whatever weapons are transferred to Pakistan are used for the purposes for which they were sold.

There have been reports that the US may supply sophisticated laser-guided bomb kits, 12 surveillance drones and 18 F-16 fighters to enhance Pakistan military's capability to strike at Taliban and al-Qaeda targets located in remote tribal areas of Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

He also said that the overall character of US assistance programme to Pakistan was changing very rapidly and pointed out that through the Kerry-Lugar legislation, Washington was providing USD 1.5 billion a year in economic assistance to Pakistan to help that country to meet its economic and energy challenges of its fast-growing population.

"So, that's really where I would put the focus. Not so much on the military side," Blake said.

He also said that the US was "very encouraged" that the Pakistani army has redeployed troops away from the Indian border.

"We do not see India as a threat to Pakistan and so we would encourage that process to continue. And that's why we attached such great importance to improved relations between India and Pakistan," he said, adding that Washington will continue to work hard on and will continue to remain a very high priority.