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US envoy to Pak justified funds as 'defence' against 'threat from India'

US envoy to Pak justified funds as 'defence' against 'threat from India'

Author: Manu Pubby
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: September 4, 2011
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/US-envoy-to-Pak-justified-funds-as--defence--against--threat-from-India-/841357/0

For years, India has been protesting the steady build-up of the Pakistan military with the help of US funds, only to be told by Washington that the support is meant for shoring up counter-insurgency capabilities. Now, a leaked secret cable has revealed that not only was the US aware that funds earmarked for the Pakistan military were being used to increase its capabilities against India but Washington also encouraged Islamabad's conventional build-up to "reduce regional tensions".

A cable dated August 2009 released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks quotes the US Ambassador to Pakistan justifying an additional $1.5 billion to Pakistan to provide for its 'national defense' against the 'threat from India' and the insurgency on the western border.

While US statements in India have always emphasised that funds allocated to Pakistan are useful for the fight against terror, Ambassador Anne W Patterson elaborated in the cable that FMF money sent to Islamabad 'is and should continue' to be directed towards increasing Pakistan's conventional and counter-insurgency capabilities.

The envoy, who proposes a five year commitment of $300 million annually to the Pakistan military in the cable, justifies the increase by arguing that a stronger military would reduce 'regional tensions' and maintain Pakistan as an ally.

"More substantially, enhancing Pakistan's overall defense posture would help reduce regional tensions by lessening Pakistan's perceived need to use asymmetric methods to counter regional threats and reduce Pakistan's sense of inferiority vis-a-vis India. For these reasons our FMF money is and should continue to be directed towards all services and toward conventional as well as counterinsurgency capabilities," Patterson has written in the cable dispatched to Washington.

"It is important to acknowledge all of Pakistan's security concerns - both the insurgency along the western border as well as the threat from India. As a sovereign state, the GOP provides for the national defense of Pakistan against those threats... the US must simultaneously stabilize and strengthen Pakistan's military overall to ensure that the GOP remains a reliable US Ally," Patterson wrote.

She was also of the view that a strengthened military would deter Pakistan from 'asymmetrical warfare' against India. "If the military and government of Pakistan are satisfied with their national defense posture, then it is less likely to engage in asymmetrical warfare to counter what it perceives to be hostile Indian policies and activities both along its eastern border as well as in Afghanistan," she wrote.

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