Wednesday, November 24, 2010

US worried over Pak perception of India's role in Afghanistan

US worried over Pak perception of India's role in Afghanistan

Pakistan's negative perception of India's [ Images ] role in Afghanistan is a matter of "continuing concern," a Pentagon [ Images ] official has said, while appreciating the development assistance being offered by New Delhi [ Images ] to the war-torn country. The comments came as Pentagon released a report on Afghanistan where US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces are battling the Taliban [ Images ] amid efforts to rebuild the infrastructure torn down by years of war.

"We value very highly the developmental work that India's doing in Afghanistan. It's been a key, one of the major contributors, and the kind of developmental work that India has done in Afghanistan is really vital to the success of the effort there," the senior Defence Department official said. "At the same time, Pakistani perceptions of that--and they're regularly voiced, both in formal and informal conversations by a wide range of people in Pakistan--is an area that is a continuing concern," the official said after the release of the Pentagon report.

The report said that India's presence in Afghanistan cannot be understood without considering the "tense, fragile" relationship between Pakistan and India. The report cites President Hamid Karzai's [ Images ] visit to India in April this year in the beginning of the document's reporting period. It says the visit was seen as successful from both sides, with India reaffirming its commitment to Afghanistan as a reliable partner. It cites India's assistance in agriculture, its increased offers of degree scholarships and training programmes for the Afghans, as also the work on the Sal-ma hydroelectric dam in Herat Province. "India continues to be one of Afghanistan's largest assistance donors, providing 1.3 billion US $ in funding for major infrastructure projects like power transmission, power lines, roads, etc," it said. But, at the same time Pakistan's perceptions of India's role also need to be taken into account, the official said.

Pakistan has several times raised concerns over India's role in Afghanistan, particularly its consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad but India has maintained that its involvement in the country is for development purposes. "Certainly the perceptions of Pakistan are important as well as the perceptions of India. "And so that's what we're saying, that it has to be looked at in context, without trying to be judgemental that one side or the other's perceptions are wrong, but it's important to be aware of those perceptions," the Defense Department official said in response to a question.

Pak perception of India's Afghan role worries US - India News


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