USA/Pakistan/Indien

Gates: Extrem­ism Biggest Threat to Pak­istan, India

By Don­na Miles
Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice

ISLAMABAD, Pak­istan, The most press­ing threat to Pak­istan and India — and the region, as well as the Unit­ed States — is vio­lent extrem­ism, not each oth­er, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said here today, reit­er­at­ing the mes­sage he deliv­ered in his last stop in India. “This was a theme that I basi­cal­ly sound­ed while I was in India: that Afghanistan, Pak­istan and India all share a com­mon ene­my, as do we in the Unit­ed States,” Gates said dur­ing inter­views with Pakistan’s Express TV cable sta­tion and the state-owned Pak­istan TV at U.S. Ambas­sador to Pak­istan Anne W. Patterson’s offi­cial res­i­dence.

Gates cit­ed a ter­ror syn­di­cate that threat­ens the region, not­ing that the var­i­ous orga­ni­za­tions all oper­ate under the same umbrel­la. “You can’t say one is good and one is not good,” he said. “They are all insid­i­ous, and safe havens for all of them need to be elim­i­nat­ed.”

The sec­re­tary empha­sized the need for Pak­istan and India to work coop­er­a­tive­ly, and with the Unit­ed States and coali­tion, to face this threat, rather than point­ing fin­gers at each oth­er.

He worked to allay con­cerns about India’s activ­i­ties in Afghanistan, empha­siz­ing that Indi­an offi­cials assured him dur­ing his vis­it to New Del­hi that they are lim­it­ed to eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment pro­grams.

“[Indi­an] Prime Min­is­ter [Man­mo­han] Singh was very explic­it in say­ing that either in Afghanistan or more gen­er­al­ly, that Pak­istan has noth­ing to fear from India,” he said.

Gates con­grat­u­lat­ed the Pak­ista­nis today on the suc­cess of the oper­a­tions they have con­duct­ed in con­fronting vio­lent extrem­ists.

Gates declined to dis­cuss drone activ­i­ties direct­ly, but offered, “I will say that these unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cles have been extreme­ly use­ful to us, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan.”

The Unit­ed States is work­ing to pro­vide the Pak­ista­nis their own intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance assets, he said, and con­sid­er­ing pro­vid­ing tac­ti­cal UAVs – 12 unarmed RQ‑7 Shad­ows fund­ed through the Pak­istan coun­terin­sur­gency fund.

These capa­bil­i­ties would help the Pak­istani mil­i­tary bet­ter mon­i­tor activ­i­ties along the country’s porous bor­der with Afghanistan, he said.

Asked about the July 2011 time­line to begin troop with­drawals in Afghanistan under Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan strat­e­gy, Gates empha­sized that it marks only the begin­ning of a process of draw­ing down. “There is no dead­line,” he said, and the draw­down pace is to be deter­mined by con­di­tions on the ground.

Gates said he’s con­fi­dent in the new strat­e­gy, and believes that with Army Gen. Stan­ley McChrys­tal over­see­ing its imple­men­ta­tion and 30,000 addi­tion­al U.S. troops on the ground, “we have the right leader and the right troops soon to be in place to be suc­cess­ful in this con­flict.”

Gates acknowl­edged dur­ing the inter­views the Unit­ed States’ past mis­take in aban­don­ing Pak­istan, and promised not to repeat it. “We are deter­mined to be a reli­able and long-term ally,” he said.

“We are focused on the way ahead.”

The sec­re­tary acknowl­edged “con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries” with­in Pak­istan and else­where about U.S. inten­tions, and coun­tered them head-on.

“We have no inten­tion or desire to take over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,” he said. “We have no desire to occu­py any part of Pak­istan or split up any part of Pak­istan. We have no intent to split the Islam­ic world.

“And I can keep going, because we are aware of these con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries as much as any­one,” he con­tin­ued. “And they are all non­sense.”

Gates expressed admi­ra­tion for the way Pakistan’s mil­i­tary has stepped up to face extrem­ism, and rec­og­nized the sac­ri­fices it has tak­en in the process.

“We are pre­pared to pro­vide what­ev­er help they want to make them more effec­tive,” he said.

Gates met today with Pak­istani Defense Min­is­ter Ahmad Mukhtar, Army Chief Gen. Ash­faq Parvez Kayani and Gen. Tariq Majid, chair­man Joint Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee, and Intel­li­gence Chief Gen. Ahmad Shu­jaa Pasha.

He attend­ed a din­ner host­ed by Pak­istani Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zardari, where he also met with Prime Min­is­ter Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and For­eign Min­is­ter Makhdoom Shah Mah­mood Qureshi.

While in Islam­abad, Gates laid a flo­ral wreath at the Pak­istan army’s Mar­tyrs Mon­u­ment hon­or­ing those lost for Pakistan’s secu­ri­ty.

Gates char­ac­ter­ized today’s ses­sions as high­ly pro­duc­tive, touch­ing on a wide range of impor­tant issues, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell told reporters.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →