India has expressed concern over US arms supply to Pakistan: Nirupama Rao

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Washington, Nov.24 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has told media persons here that the Indian Government has expressed its concern to Washington over US arms supply to Pakistan.

Addressing a press conference here last night, Rao said Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has expressed his concern over the misuse of arms supplied to Pakistan by the United States.

Rao, who is accompanying Dr. Singh on his four-day visit to Washington, said that until Pakistan takes meaningful action on tackling India's concerns on terrorism, bilateral relations couldn't be normalised.

"Peace with Pakistan but it is difficult to carry forward the process of normalization unless and until of course Pakistan is able to move meaningfully on tackling our concerns about terrorism directed against India," Rao said.

She confirmed that during his meetings with various American dignitaries, Dr. Singh has voiced concern over US arms supply to Pakistan and highlighted the fact that these arms can be used against India.

"The issue of arms supply to Pakistan and assistance in that area from the United States was also mentioned in the conversation and attention was drawn to our concerns that such equipments have been used against our country in the past and that we continued such worries today and for the future also, " Rao said.

"Yes, on Pakistan, the US is receptive and sensitive to India's concerns regarding Pakistan, its inability to curb terrorism emanating from its borders. The cooperation we have had with the Americans has been very good, we have expressed our concerns with candour about Pakistan misusing aid that it gets from the US against India," said Rao.

"We have been very specific in our articulation about misuse of aid, especially the military aid that Pakistan gets. The US is also fully aware of our position that we cannot begin the composite dialogue process till such a time that Pakistan delivers on the Mumbai issue," she added.

Rao underscored India's mounting exasperation over lack of adequate action by Pakistan against the Mumbai terrorists and the larger anti-India terror infrastructure.

"For this dialogue to regain momentum, we will need to have progress by Pakistan to take action against terrorism," Rao said after Singh's meeting with several Congressmen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

"We need to have a closure. We have to take into account the public mood, the mood in the Parliament; a composite view has to be taken. The Americans are aware about all this. There has been no pressure on us at all," Rao said.

Some 200 million dollars worth of equipment and services are already in the pipeline for Pakistan has started to arrive, but American officials have declined to provide full details, saying many of the more sophisticated items were classified.

U.S. military aid is meant to help Pakistan mount a long-awaited ground offensive against Taliban fighters in their South Waziristan stronghold along the border with Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO forces are fighting a growing insurgency.

The Indian Foreign Secretary also said that the situation in Afghanistan also came up for discussion between Dr. Singh and the senators, House representatives and think tanks.

She said that India had explained that it is ready to help build Afghanistan.

There was, however, no mention about consulates, and the overall response from the American side was that Indian opinion on Afghanistan was sought, said Rao.

"Both India and United States could work together to help advance development and prosperity for the people of Afghanistan," Rao said.

India is one of the biggest donors in Afghanistan and its influence -- 1.2 billion dollars in aid towards targets ranging from highway construction to new consulates-is viewed with suspicion by many actors in the region-from Islamist militants to Pakistan.

Rao said Dr. Singh underlined his government's commitment to Afghanistan, and added that India did not see Afghanistan as "a theatre of influence."

Rao also said that India was not looking at finalising negotiations with the US on a pact on reprocessing of spent fuel, a key step in implementation of the nuclear deal, during summit talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama.

"As far as reprocessing talks are concerned, these are ongoing and we were not looking at finalising them tomorrow. In any case, it is a ongoing process and as I mentioned to you and that these talks have progressed well and, there are a number of issues that were being discussed between the American side and our side and our experts have been engaged very intensively in these discussions and I am happy to report that much progress has been made and we will be finalising these issues very shortly, "she said. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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