US okays major arms sale to Pak as India watches

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Arms
New Delhi, April 5: Without waiting for the outcome of next month's election results, the US has issued a waiver for sale of major defence equipment to Pakistan.

Curiously, the waiver for allowing arms sale are issued only after the State Department sends a note that Pakistan is taking steps to prevent Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, from operating in the territory of Pakistan. Some of these groups are openly opposing India and indulge in terror activities on the Indian soil. Under these circumstance, the waiver is a sham.

What matters most to India is that the last waiver was effected within a fortnight of John Kerry , supposedly, a friend of India assumed office of Secretary of State and as head of State Department. This second waiver in the last six months has been done national security interest concerns and without much noise.

Under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill the US can't approve sale of major defence equipment to Pakistan unless the Secretary of State either gives a waiver under national security interest or certifies that Pakistan is continuing to cooperate US to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials, and has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and is making significant efforts towards combating terrorist groups.

The bill requires the Secretary of State to certify that Pakistan has made progress on matters such as ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups, particularly to any group that has conducted attacks against United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan, or against the territory or people of neighboring countries.

It also requires the State Department to certify that Pakistan is taking steps to prevent Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, from operating in the territory of Pakistan, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighboring countries, closing terrorist camps in the FATA (federally administered tribal areas), dismantling terrorist bases of operations in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke, and taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets.

Among other things the State Department also needs to certify that Pakistan is strengthening counter terrorism and anti-money laundering laws; and that the security forces of Pakistan are not materially and substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of Pakistan.

However, under the Kerry Lugar Berman bill, these conditions could be waived of the Secretary of State under national security interests.

India needs to work around these double standards of the US and send strong note to the Washington power brokers on Pakistan sponsored terror activities.

OneIndia Newa

(With PTI inputs)

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