India not your mortal enemy: Obama tells Pak
LALIT K JHA\PTI
Washington, Oct 7: In a lengthy pep-talk to Pakistan, US President Barack Obama has asked it not to view India as its “mortal enemy”, shed its Afghan-India paranoia and realise that a “peaceful approach” towards New Delhi would be in everybody’s interests.
“They see their security interests threatened by an independent Afghanistan in part because they think it will ally itself to India, and Pakistan still considers India their mortal enemy,” Obama said yesterday at a press conference at the East Room of the White House.
“Part of what we want to do is actually get Pakistan to realise that a peaceful approach towards India would be in everybody’s interests, and would help Pakistan actually develop,” he said.
Obama’s remarks came when he was asked whether he agreed with his former top military commander Mike Mullen’s accusations that Pakistan has used the Haqqani network as a veritable arm.
The US President noted that one of the biggest problems facing Pakistan right now were poverty, illiteracy, lack of development, civil institutions that are not strong enough to deliver for the Pakistani people.
“And in that environment you’ve seen extremism grow. You’ve seen militancy grow that doesn’t just threaten our efforts in Afghanistan but also threatens the Pakistani government and the Pakistani people as well,” he said.
“So trying to get that reorientation is something that we’re continuing to work on; it’s not easy,” he said.
Obama said his administration will constantly evaluate its ties with Pakistan but warned that he will not be feeling comfortable with a long-term strategic relationship with Islamabad if it was not mindful of American interest as well.
“We will constantly evaluate our relationship with Pakistan based on, is, overall, this helping to protect Americans and our interests. We have a great desire to help the Pakistani people strengthen their own society and their own government,” he said.
Obama said he would be hesitant to punish aid for flood victims in Pakistan because of “poor decisions” by Pakistani intelligence services. “But there is no doubt that we’re not going to feel comfortable with a long-term strategic relationship with Pakistan if we don’t think that they’re mindful of our interest as well,” he said.
Though he took note of Pakistan’s cooperation on a whole range of issues, he also pointed out the links between Islamabad and “unsavoury characters”.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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