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US military hardware only for defensive purposes: Pak

Pak's F-16 combat jets, P3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft

ISLAMABAD (PTI): Pakistan has assured the US administration that American military hardware provided to it will be used solely for defensive purposes, a top US official has said.

David Sedney, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, made the remarks during an interaction with the Pakistani media.

He was responding to a question on whether the US had sought an assurance from Pakistan that American military hardware would not be used against India.

Sedney, who is visiting Pakistan with a high-level delegation for a meeting of a bilateral defence working group, did not specify the level at which the assurance had been given by Pakistan.

In recent months, the US has provided Pakistan with a wide array of weapons and hardware, including F-16 combat jets, utility helicopters, P3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft and a frigate, as part of the ongoing military cooperation between the two countries.

India has repeatedly expressed concerns that the American weapon systems and hardware can be used against it by Pakistan.

Sedney said Pakistan faced a range of threats and extremism is one of them.

He indicated that the hardware provided by the US was meant to help Pakistan's fight against terrorism and extremism.

The American official acknowledged that Washington and Islamabad had differences on the threat perceptions confronting Pakistan but did not give details.

Pakistan had given a list of its threat perceptions and the US had shared its views in this regard, he said.

The two countries are working to identify the common or overlapping areas so that they can cooperate in these fields, Sedney said.
Though the US and Pakistan have made progress in bridging the trust deficit between their militaries, it still exists, Sedney said.

"There is still a big trust deficit (and) we have to go a long way," he added.

More meetings of defence officials of the two countries will be held in July and August.

The "next step" in these meetings would be the provision of more equipment requested by Pakistan, Sedney said.

On the other hand, the US had told Pakistan of its priorities, including its desire to win the wars it is currently engaged in, he said.

The US needs Pakistan’s cooperation in this regard, especially for the campaign in Afghanistan, he said.

The US also wants to prepare its forces for potential future threats and the relationship with Pakistan is important, Sedney said.

"In the long-term, we see Pakistan playing an important role in regional security,” he said.

The purpose of the defence-level engagement with Pakistan is to lay the basis for a long-term working relationship between the two countries, Sedney said.


Pakistan   US   military  

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