Washington, Oct 20 (ANI): With the next round of the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue set to take place this week, Washington is ready to offer fresh military assistance to Islamabad in a new bid to smooth out their uneasy partnership.
"We specifically worked with the Pakistanis over the summer to identify what would be the types of military equipment and so on... That will be a topic of discussion at the strategic dialogue," The News quoted Frank Ruggiero, US Deputy Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, as saying to reporters.
The three-day talks come amid tensions between Pakistan and the US over repeated cross-border air strikes by NATO and ISAF forces.
However, Ruggiero said that the talks aimed to "move beyond these tensions," and added that the US side would take up support for Pakistan's economy, its military and flood victims.
Last year, the US Congress approved a five-year, 7.5 billion-dollar package for Pakistan, aimed at building schools, infrastructure and democratic institutions in the hope of denting the appeal of Islamic extremists.
While the US has hailed its commitment to fighting against its homegrown Taliban, including launching a major offensive in its tribal areas, New Delhi has pressed for Pakistan to do more against anti-Indian extremists such as those linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks. A recent White House report to Congress also faulted Pakistan for avoiding direct conflict with Afghanistan's Taliban, in what experts see as an attempt by Islamabad to preserve influence in the country once US forces leave.
"I think we see an unprecedented level of cooperation from the Pakistanis in taking on insurgents," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, while adding that the United States will explain in the dialogue "what more must be done."
Ruggiero revealed that the United States considered its ties with India and Pakistan to be "distinct bilateral relationships."
Apart from Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the country's COAS General Ashfaq Kayani will also take part in the strategic dialogue and hold talks at the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, Ashley Tellis, an expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has accused Pakistan of extracting aid from Washington while supporting the very groups that undermine Afghanistan's stability. (ANI)