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The United States on Friday announced that it will provide a whopping $2.29 billion in new military aid to Pakistan to bolster its army's anti-terror capabilities, notwithstanding India's concerns that Islamabad has been diverting a portion of such assistance against it.
Applauding Pakistan's role in the war against terrorism, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US has "no stronger partner when it comes to counter-terrorism" than Islamabad. She made the remarks at the opening of the third US-Pak Strategic Dialogue with her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The US will be providing $2.29 billion to Pakistan, of which two billion is under foreign military financing programme and $29 million is being given under the international military education and training funding. Clinton said a request will be made to the Congress for the aid to be made available for the period between 2012 and 2016.
This will complement the five-year $7.5 billion in civilian aid to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar bill, she said. This is the first time that the US has made a multi-year commitment of international military education and training.
On his part, Qureshi said Pakistan will not allow any space to terrorists within its territory. There will be no distinction between good and bad terrorists, he said, adding that violence against innocent people cannot be justified. He also thanked the US for its support to his country for dealing with the aftermath of the devastating floods there.
The fresh military aid to Pakistan is expected to cause unease in India, where President Barack Obama is set to visit in early November.
Defence Minister A K Antony, who was in Washington in September for talks with his US counterpart Robert Gates and Clinton, had conveyed India's concerns about the supply of American arms to Pakistan, arguing that a section of these are being targeted against India.
"We feel that even though the US is giving arms to Pakistan to fight terrorism, our practical experience is (that) it is always being misused. They are diverting a portion against India," Antony had said during his visit.