India to get $4.5 mn US aid to fight terrorism

India to get $4.5 mn US aid to fight terrorism

India to get $4.5 mn US aid to fight terrorism

Testifying before a Congressional committee, Coordinator for Counter-terrorism in the Department of States Daniel Benjamin yesterday said such a decision by the Obama Administration follows a request from India in the aftermath of the Mumbai-terrorist attack that killed more than 166 people, six of whom were Americans.

"Under our FY 2011 request, India's ATA bilateral budget would almost double, to USD 4.5 million, to meet the increasing political will on the part of the Indian government, which has requested more and higher-level training in the aftermath of the Mumbai attack," Benjamin said.

Anti-terrorism assistance or ATA continues to be US's flagship counter-terrorism law enforcement capacity-building programme, and its partner nations have registered several concrete successes over the last year, he said.

Benjamin said the Obama Administration's request for Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) is USD 1.2 billion for the fiscal 2011; which will be the first year the Department of State assumes full management of this fund.

Funds will continue to be targeted at building the capability of Pakistan's security forces directly engaged in counter-insurgency efforts in contested areas throughout the northwest frontier province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, he said.

"A more capable Pakistani military will diminish extremist access to safe havens from which attacks on Pakistan and on US international forces operating in Afghanistan are planned and executed," he said, adding a better trained and equipped Pakistani security force will facilitate efforts to execute its USD 7.5 billion five-year US civilian assistance strategy, which includes efforts to improve basic government services in areas vulnerable to extremists.

The official said a major difference in the management of PCCF in the FY 2011 will be the increased State Department oversight and involvement throughout the execution process, which will ensure that this major assistance programme aligns with US's broader policy objectives and complements its other foreign assistance programs in Pakistan and the broader region.

"We are actively working to ensure that the transition of PCCF management from the Defence Department to the State Department is a smooth one," he said.