New Delhi: India Monday welcomed a reported decision by the United States to suspend $ 800 million military aid to Pakistan saying a heavy presence of arms disturbs the equilibrium in the region. “With reference to the special circumstances between India and Pakistan and how India has consistently taken the view that it is not desirable that this region had to be heavily armed by the US which would upset the equilibrium in the region. To that extent India welcomes this step,” foreign minister S M Krishna told reporters.
The suspended aid, which is about one-third of the $ 2 billion in annual American security assistance to Pakistan includes about $ 300 million to reimburse Pakistan for some of the costs of deploying more than 100,000 soldiers along the Afghan border to combat terrorism, said a New York Times report quoted by PTI. It also comprises millions of dollars in training assistance and military hardware.
“Simultaneously the US must take note of the fact that we are working in a very committed manner to normalise our relations with Pakistan to reduce trust deficit, and efforts are on,.” Krishna said referring to recently resumed official level dialogue with Pakistan after the derailing of talks following the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
India is looking to host Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar later this month, Krishna said.The reported cut of US military aid to Pakistan comes almost two months after elite US troops killed al Qaeda ideologue Osama bin Laden in a raid inside Pakistan.
India has traditionally opposed any major US arms transfers or military aid to Pakistan saying Islamabad would use the arms and aid against India. New Delhi had opposed Washington’s transfer of arms to Pakistan for the Mujahideen fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan the 1980s.
After the start of the US war on terror in Afghanistan in 2001, Washington has sent billions of dollars worth of military aid to Pakistan in an effort to update Pakistan’s capability to fight Islamic militanst within its own borders and the AlQaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.