Pakistan shifted emphasis away from India border, says USBy IANS
Saturday, December 18, 2010
WASHINGTON - Pakistan was shifting its emphasis away from its eastern border with India, a decision it had taken on its own because of a “definite shift” in Islamabad’s military posture brought about by fundamental changes within the country, the US has said.
It said while it does want Islamabad to act more aggressively against extremists within Pakistan it played little role in Islamabad’s decision to move its troops away from the border with India.
“First of all, how Pakistan decides to deploy its military forces is a decision for Pakistan,” State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley told reporters Friday what role the US had played in the movement of 140,000 troops away from the Pakistani-Indian border as mentioned by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“We’ve made no secret of our desire to see Pakistan take more aggressive action against extremist elements within its own borders,” he said. “That is a threat to Pakistan itself.”
“And as the Secretary said, we have seen Pakistan shift its emphasis away from the Pakistani-Indian border and more aggressively to the Swat Valley and other areas where these extremists operate.”
“And no military has suffered more significant casualties in undertaking these operations than Pakistan. But these were obviously decisions for Pakistan to make,” Crowley said.
“But the context of increasing dialogue and reducing tensions between Pakistan and India is something that we have stressed in our dialogue with both countries,” he said.
Asked if Clinton was making an announcement, Crowley said: “Yeah, we’ve seen a definite shift in the Pakistani military’s posture. (But), it wasn’t an announcement.”
“I think it was a reflection of fundamental changes that have occurred in Pakistan as part of our strategic dialogue and our cooperation on dealing with the threat on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border.”
Asked about India’s role in Afghanistan after the recent review of the US Af-Pak strategy, Crowley said: “Well, we do have a regional strategy. India has legitimate interest in helping with the future of Pakistan.
“It has contributed significantly to development and reconstruction projects within Afghanistan. And we encourage that activity, even as we stress the importance of dialogue between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, other countries. So no efforts like this are misunderstood,” he said.