US approves tripling of aid to Pak, deletes reference to India
A key Congressional committee today gave approval to a law tripling US non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion annually, but went soft on Islamabad dropping all direct reference to India on not allowing its soil to be used to plot terror attacks.
Approving for passage, the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement (PEACE) Act 2009, the House Foreign Affairs Committee replaced the word "India" with "neighbouring countries" with regard to Pakistan not allowing its territory to be used to launch terror attacks.
The original bill, introduced on April 2 by Howard L Berman, Chairman of the Committee, had imposed conditions that Pakistan would not let its territory to be used for launching terrorist attacks against India and would also not support any group that indulges in terrorist activities against India.
The version of the Berman bill which was approved by the voice vote, following about an hour of debate, replaced India with "neighbouring countries", apparently at the suggestion of the Obama Administration because Pakistan, in particular its army and ISI, had raised strong objections to it.
Congressional observers said this means almost the same, but word "India" had to be deleted because the Obama Administration told the lawmakers that this could be counter-productive to their overall objective given that Pakistan establishment is allergic to it.