US Senate approves Pak defence bill with 'India-centric' riders over balance of power in region

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Washington, Oct.23 (ANI): The US Senate has approved a defence bill for Pakistan with added restrictions that the military assistance being provided to that country should not 'upset the balance of power' in the region.

The added restrictions clearly indicate that the aid being provided to Pakistan should be utilized exactly for the purpose it is sent for, and not for piling up arms to threaten neighbour country- India.

The new limits mentioned in the bill include efforts to track where the US military hardware sent to Pakistan ends up.

Following the Senate's approval the bill has been sent to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

Addressing the Senate before the approval of the legislation, one of the sponsors of the bill, Bob Corker, said the clauses mentioned in the defence bill aim to ensure that the US taxpayer's money is being spent for the right cause.

"This provision simply ensures that the American peoples' tax dollars are being used for their intended purpose," The News quoted Corker, as saying.

Co-author of the bill, Senator Robert Menendez highlighted that Pakistan's fight against extremism was also important for Washington.

"That fight is important to our own national security, and we have to ensure that our support for it is not being squandered or diverted," said Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.

The aid is likely to create more furor in Pakistan, where both the Army and the civilan government are fuming over the 'stern' clauses stitched with the Kerry- Lugar bill, which triples non-military aid to Islamabad to 7.5 billion dollars over the next five years.

The measures, stated in the new defence bill, require the US secretaries of state and defence to certify that 'whether such reimbursement is consistent with the national security interest of the United States and will not adversely impact the balance of power in the region.'

The bill also says that the Pentagon must certify that Islamabad is involved in a 'concerted' fight against Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist groups before it can actually receive the massive aid package.

It also directs the Pentagon to keep a check on how Pakistan uses the military hardware being provided to it in order to 'prohibit the re-transfer of such defence articles and defence services without the consent of the United States.' (ANI)

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