Senate of Pakistan

Indian military build-up: Pakistan shares concern with US, Senate body told

January 24, 2014

Pakistan has shared its concern, about Indian military build-up, with US in the last meeting of Defence Consultative Group, Secretary Defence Lieutenant General Asif Yaseen (Retd) told parliamentary panel on Thursday. Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Defence, chaired by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed about the details of the Defence Consultative Group meetings between US and Pakistan, Asif said, "We sensitised the Americans about the military build-up of the India because it doesn't appears China-specific."

He pointed out that the one-time increase made in the Indian defence budget is even higher than the total spending of Pakistan on defence front. He also discussed the keenness of India in Afghanistan with the US officials especially after the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan in the current year. Secretary Defence talked extensively on the withdrawal of Nato forces from Afghanistan and the subsequent post-withdrawal scenario which had also been discussed with the US officials in the DCG meetings.

About the equipment and arsenal of the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan after withdrawal, he rejected the notion that US would throw it out, saying it was premature at this stage as the US had not drawn out its plans about level of its presence after withdrawal of its forces, which would be the largest since the World War II. When asked about any discussion with the US officials about the presence of foreign elements on the country's soil during DCG meetings, Asif asserted that we should better ask it ourselves as it is our responsibility to deny soft borders to such elements. "We should first put our own house in order," he categorically stated in response to senators queries.

Secretary Defence touched upon the Nato supplies and its blockade by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf briefly and said that it was a political issue. However, he maintained that these supplies allowed under MoU as the part of Pakistan's commitment with Nato rather than US only.

He told the committee that Pakistan side in the DCG meetings emphasised that the Pak-US relations should not be seen in the context of Afghanistan and terrorism only. "The bilateral relations have been seen through the prism of these two issues," he said and added that rather these should be part of broader strategic and economic relations.

Asif also said that the security situation in Afghanistan had been discussed in detail and it had been conveyed to US officials that instability in Afghanistan would have serious consequences for Pakistan as there would be more influx of refugees if situation didn't improve.

About Coalition Support Fund (CSF), Secretary Defence said there were some procedural issues in reimbursement of these funds. However, he was of the view that the scrutiny of CSF was their right because the money belonged to the people of America. Mushahid Hussain said that Pakistan-US relations were now entering a new phase. However, he deplored the mindset of US appeared unchanged and referred to the condition of release of Dr Shakeel Afridi with the aid to Pakistan, which he believed was a condemnable act.

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