Harpoon missiles not modified: Pakistan

"We have not and will never violate any convention or principles on that, and all international obligations are being honoured by the Pakistan Navy," naval chief Admiral Nauman Bashir said.

The US protest on the issue “is based on sheer misunderstanding, which is being clarified at the appropriate level”, he told reporters on the sidelines of an international conference on piracy on the high seas.

Quoting unnamed US officials, the New York Times said Washington had accused Islamabad of illegally modifying Harpoon missiles and the P-3C maritime surveillance aircraft for potential use against India.

The Obama administration, said the report, lodged its protest on this with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in June, adding to the tension between the two countries.
The New York Times said Pakistan had repudiated the charge that it modified the missiles and claimed that it developed these itself. The US had provided 165 Harpoon missiles to Pakistan between 1985 and 1988.

On its part, India said it had noted the media report and was examining its impact on national security.

"We have seen the report and studied its contents. The government of India is closely monitoring all the developments having a bearing on national security," an official said in New Delhi Aug 31.

"We will take necessary steps," the official added. Also in August, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said that India has conveyed to the US that all forms of aid provided to Pakistan is "invariably directed" against New Delhi and providing more arms to Islamabad will not help the peace process in the region.

The Harpoon report notwithstanding, the US Senate last week approved legislation to triple civilian financial aid to Islamabad to $7.5 billion over five years even as President Barack Obama spoke of violent extremists within Pakistan posing a threat to the world.
Underscoring Islamabad's perceived role in the war in Afghanistan and the broader fight against international terrorism Obama urged "sustained and expanded" support for Pakistan at an international summit Sep 24.

Obama, seated next to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, told the meeting of the 26-member Friends of Democratic Pakistan that the US Senate vote for billions of dollars in aid for Islamabad was proof of US support.

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