Monday, May 18, 2009

Pakistan has not diverted US aid to N-weapons: Mullen

Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen on Monday said Pakistan had not diverted any US assistance to advance its nuclear programme. His remarks quashed the apprehensions cited in an American newspaper report.
The US State Department also categorically stated that there was no linkage between the US aid and Pakistan’s nuclear programme. Mullen’s comments came after a story in The New York Times claimed that the members of US Congress were concerned that Islamabad might divert the US aid to its nuclear programme. Mullen also refused to rule out strikes from drones. Mullen, who spoke on wide-ranging security issues at a leading Washington think tank, rejected the characterisations that the key anti-terrorism partner somehow might near a failure.
He said both the civilian and military leaderships in Pakistan were conscious of the extremism threat to their country and advocated a long-term US relationship with Pakistan. At the State Department, spokesman Ian Kelly advised against drawing “any links between the issues of our assistance package and their nuclear capability.” Meanwhile, the US on Monday expressed the hope that the Indian and Pakistani political leaderships would work to reduce tensions on their border to focus on addressing the common threat from violent extremism.
“India is not just positioned in the theatre, but India’s security is also tied to improved stability in the region, particularly with Pakistan and Afghanistan. And I recognise that there is still great focus on the border between Pakistan and India,” Mullen told a gathering of experts at the Brookings Institution here. Mullen, who spoke on “The Future of Global Engagement,” underscored in reply to a question that Afghanistan, Pakistan and India “are very much linked” in the regional security perspective.

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