Press Esc to close
Tuesday 21 October 2014
News updated at 2:10 PM IST
Weather
Max: 0°C
Min : 0°C
In Bangalore
Sunny day

Hagel committed to ties with India: Pentagon

Washington, Feb 28, 2013, (IANS):
File photo.

As Chuck Hagel took over as Barack Obama's new defence secretary amid a controversy over his comments on India's role in Afghanistan, Pentagon - the US defence department headquarters - said that Hagel will work to strengthen ties to India.

Hagel's strong commitment to fostering a close defence relationship was reported Wednesday by Washington Free Beacon, the rightwing online newspaper that had disclosed a video-recording of a speech Hagel made in 2011 about Indian aid to Afghanistan.

"Secretary Hagel is strongly committed to the US strategic partnership with India and to fostering an even closer defense relationship with India that builds upon the work of Secretary (Leon) Panetta, Deputy Secretary (Ashton) Carter, and their Indian counterparts," Free Beacon quoted Pentagon spokesperson George Little as saying.


"Secretary Hagel looks forward to working closely with Indian national security and defence officials," Little told the newspaper that had dug out the controversial comments during Hagel's contentious confirmation hearings with his former Republicans attacking him for his positions on Israel and Iran.

In his previously unreleased 2011speech, Hagel had said: "India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.

"And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being (that) the tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years."

The remarks raised a furore in New Delhi. However, in a calibrated response to the Free Beacon, the India Embassy said that Hagel's 2011 remarks were not grounded in "reality."

"Such comments attributed to Sen. Hagel, who has been a long-standing friend of India and a prominent votary of close India-US relations, are contrary to the reality of India's unbounded dedication to the welfare of the Afghan people," the embassy spokesperson said in an email to the newspaper.


"India's commitment to a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan is unwavering, and this is reflected in our significant assistance to Afghanistan in developing its economy, infrastructure, and institutional capacities," the spokesperson said. "Our opposition to terrorism and its safe havens in our neighborhood is firm and unshakeable."

The existence of the video of Hagel's speech at Cameron University in Oklahoma was disclosed by the online newspaper hours before the decorated Vietnam veteran was confirmed by the Senate after weeks of severe criticism from former Republican colleagues.

The former Republican senator from Nebraska, who won two Purple Hearts for his bravery as a soldier during the Vietnam War, was accused of being critical of Israel and weak on Iran's alleged nuclear weapon ambitions.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Army recruits during their attestation parade at Madras Regimental Centre, Wellington, Ooty on...

Army recruits during their attestation parade at Madras Regimental Centre, Wellington, Ooty on...

In this Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 photo, a Kashmiri woman blocks a road during a protest demanding...

In this Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 photo, a Kashmiri woman blocks a road during a protest demanding...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 42nd Convocation of the All India Institute of Medical...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 42nd Convocation of the All India Institute of Medical...

Devendra Fadnavis hugs his mother Savita after his victory during the Assembly election in...

Devendra Fadnavis hugs his mother Savita after his victory during the Assembly election in...

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitaraman launching the Online Export...

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitaraman launching the Online Export...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah after the party's parliamentary...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah after the party's parliamentary...

In this Oct. 17, 2014 photo, a thick blanket of smoke is seen against the setting sun as...

In this Oct. 17, 2014 photo, a thick blanket of smoke is seen against the setting sun as...

In this Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 photo, an Indian woman uses her hand to put sawdust in an...

In this Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 photo, an Indian woman uses her hand to put sawdust in an...

(L-R) Asha Bhat, Miss Diva Universe 2014 2nd runner up, Noyonita Lodh, Miss Diva Universe 2014...

(L-R) Asha Bhat, Miss Diva Universe 2014 2nd runner up, Noyonita Lodh, Miss Diva Universe 2014...

An Indian man teaches yoga postures to schoolchildren at Delhi Public School in Hyderabad...

An Indian man teaches yoga postures to schoolchildren at Delhi Public School in Hyderabad...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523