Pakistan, India on same side in terror war: Rice
Washington: Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, told a Senate subcommittee in testimony on Thursday that the “the US-led global war on terrorism has put Pakistan and India on the same side against extremism.”
She told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee of State Foreign Operations and Related programmes in a prepared statement, “We have de-hyphenated our relationship with Pakistan and with India, building strong, independent ties with each. At the same time that our relations with India have been moving forward we have the best relations with Pakistan that perhaps we have ever had, deepening our cooperation with Pakistan in the war on terrorism, supporting President Musharraf’s modernisation efforts and the liberalisation of Pakistan’s economy.”
Dr Rice told the Subcommittee that during her trip to Pakistan and India, she had congratulated both countries on behalf of President Bush “on the steps they have taken toward warmer relations with each other.” Giving details, she added, “In Islamabad, I discussed the need to chart a democratic path for Pakistan, including the holding of national elections in 2007. With India, the world’s largest democracy, we are cooperating on a global strategy for peace, and on defence, energy and growth. A few weeks ago, India’s Foreign Minister met President Bush and they discussed ways we might accelerate our cooperation still further and we look forward to a July visit by Prime Minister Singh.
We are requesting $5.8 billion in assistance to our front-line partners in the global war on terror. Through the provision of equipment and training, this assistance will help give military, police and other security forces the tools they need to destroy terrorist cells, disrupt terrorist operations, strengthen border controls, and prevent attacks. This assistance will also help advance economic growth and democratic reform, providing new opportunities for their citizens and addressing the hopelessness that terrorists seek to exploit. The request includes $698 million for Pakistan; $559 million for Colombia; $462 million for Jordan; $213 million for Kenya; and $159 million for Indonesia.
She said, “We and our democratic allies are putting the power of our partnership to work not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but all across the Middle East and North Africa. Efforts to encourage democratisation, economic reform, civil society and education are critical to shaping a stable future for this region. Recognizing this through the G-8, we have established the Forum for the Future — a new partnership between the democratic world and nations of this vast region, and we will ensure the Forum plays a central role in advancing indigenous reform efforts from Morocco to Pakistan. khalid kasan