US putting final touches to new USD 2 bil assistance to Pak

The package aims to address Pakistan's insistence that it does not have the wherewithal "to go after terrorists" and will pave the way for supply of American helicopters, weapon systems and advanced technical equipment to intercept communication to Islamabad, CNN reported quoting US officials.

The security assistance is expected to be unveiled at the US-Pak strategic dialogue being held here later this week and is being sanctioned inspite of the Obama administration of late being critical of Islamabad's sincerity in the fight against terrorism, the TV network said.

The USD 2 billion package will be on top of billions of dollars that the Obama Administration has already given to Pakistan in military aid and a USD 7.5 billion aid package over five years in non-military counter terrorism assistance approved by Congress last year.

"The key is to beef up their ability to go after militants, it can't be diverted to other threats," one senior US official was quoted as saying.

Islamabad has been stonewalling pressure from Washington to launch a major military campaign on North Waziristan, which US security agencies believe to be the hot-bed of Al-Qaeda, Haqqani network and other militant groups.

The latest US military assistance to Pakistan comes weeks after the Defence Minister, A K Antony, expressed India's strong opposition to such a supply of military hardware.

Antony, who was in Washington last month to hold bilateral talks with the Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, and the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had conveyed India’s concerns about supply of US arms to Pakistan, arguing that a section of these are being targeted against India.

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