India financed problems for Pakistan from Afghanistan: Chuck Hagel

The unconditional participation of Pakistan in America’s war on terror in Afghanistan has rendered the country vulnerable to various kinds of security threats. Pakistan has suffered from this war to an extent that is unprecedented in world. India has been exploiting this situation to her advantage, knowing fully well that Pakistan will not be able to stop her interference. The statement of Chuck Hagel has removed all doubts about this bitter fact and is an eye opener for the policy-makers in Pakistan.

(Akhtar Malik)

 
‘India financed problems for Pakistan’ from Afghanistan: Chuck Hagel
February 26, 2013
 

2-26-2013_89847_lWhile some in Pakistan have for long been crying hoarse over growing Indian subversive activities in Pakistan through Afghanistan, the latest confirmation of this came from US defense secretary nominee Senator Chuck Hagel who in a previously unreleased video suggested that India has over the years “financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.”

Hagel in a talk on Afghanistan at the Cameron University in Oklahoma in 2011 said that India has been using Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. “India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border, and you can carry that into many dimensions.” The 2011 video had not been released previously, and only came to light after it was uploaded on to video sharing website by Washington Free Beacon. Hagel was nominated by President Barack Obama in January to replace US defence secretary Leon Panetta. He is due to hear a verdict on on his confirmation by the US Senate on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in Washington has decried Hagel’s statement. An Indian embassy spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon that Hagel’s statement was not grounded in “reality”. “Such comments attributed to Senator Hagel, who has been a long-standing friend of India and a prominent votary of close India-US relations, are contrary to the reality of India’s unbounded dedication to the welfare of the Afghan people,” the spokesperson said.

“India’s commitment to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is unwavering, and this is reflected in our significant assistance to Afghanistan in developing its economy, infrastructure and institutional capacities.” The spokesperson, seeking to dispel the notion that India may have sponsored terrorism, added that “India’s development assistance has been deeply appreciated by the people and the Government of Afghanistan, and by our friends around the world, including the United States,” and that “We [India] do not view our engagement with Afghanistan as a zero sum game.”

“India and the United States have a shared perspective and a deep convergence of interests for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the spokesperson added. “We will continue to work to help the Afghan people build a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and inclusive future for themselves in an environment free from terror and intimidation.” ”Our opposition to terrorism and its safe havens in our neighborhood is firm and unshakeable,” the statement added.

 
India financed problems for Pak in Afghanistan: Chuck Hagel
 
PTI | 3 hours 39 min ago
 
Washington: In a sharp contrast to US view on India’s role in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama’s Defence Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel has alleged that India has over the years ‘financed problems’ for Pakistan in the war-torn country.
 
A video containing these remarks from an unreleased speech of Hagel at Oklahoma’s Cameron University in 2011 was uploaded by Washington Free Beacon, sparking a strong reaction from India which said such comments are ‘contrary to the reality’ of its unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghans. Hagel, during the speech said, ‘India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border’.
 
“And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being [that] the tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years,” Hagel said. Reacting to this, the Indian Embassy here said, ‘Such comments attributed to Senator Hagel, who has been a long-standing friend of India and a prominent votary of close India-US relations are contrary to the reality of India’s unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghan people’.
 
It added that India’s commitment to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is unwavering, ‘and this is reflected in our significant assistance to Afghanistan in developing its economy, infrastructure and institutional capacities’. ‘Our opposition to terrorism and its safe havens in our neighborhood is firm and unshakable’. “India’s development assistance has been deeply appreciated by the people and the Government of Afghanistan, and by our friends around the world including the US. We do not view our engagement with Afghanistan as a zero sum game,” the Embassy said.
 
Contradicts Obama govt’s view
 
Hagel’s remarks are in sharp contrast to viewpoint of Obama Administration that has always been in praise of India’s developmental role in Afghanistan and in fact has been pressing New Delhi to do more in Afghanistan. Significantly, a deeply divided Senate is in the process of voting on US President’s contentious nominee to head the Defense Department. The Embassy said India and the US have a shared perspective and a deep convergence of interests for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan.
 
“We will continue to work to help the Afghan people build a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and inclusive future for themselves in an environment free from terror and intimidation,” the statement said. The unearthing of anti-India comment by Hagel provided another ammunition to the Republican Senators to oppose his confirmation which is slated to come up today. Once published, the news item was sent by the office of powerful Republican Senator John Cornyn, who is among the leading opponent of twice wounded Vietnam veteran’s confirmation.
 
“In light of our shared interest in the US-India relationship, thought you would want to see this,” said the email sent by Cornyn’s office to top Indian American community leaders. Cornyn is Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus. “I am surprised and shocked. We did not know the story and background of Senator Hagel on India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. I think Indian Community needs to work on to see how we can help to stop his nomination for the post of Secretary of Defense.
 
“We will definitely follow up with our Senators and impress on them on the folly of such a nomination,” Republican Sampat Shivangi (an unmistajably Indian sounding name), national president of Indian American Forum for Political Education, said.
 
Split in Senate
 
As Nebraska Senator for two terms from 1997 to 2009, Hagel was member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, frequently travelled to South Asia and voted in favour of the historic India-US civilian nuclear dealDuring his trip to Pakistan he told the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf that a similar agreement was not on cards with Islamabad, because of the proliferation issues with his country. Hagel’s nomination has bitterly split the Senate, with Republicans turning on their former colleague and Democrats standing by Obama’s nominee.
 
Republican lawmakers excoriated Hagel over his past statements and votes. They argued that he was too critical of Israel and too compromising with Iran. They cast the Nebraskan as a radical far out of the mainstream. Meanwhile, official sources in New Delhi said India has close and frequent discussions with the US “on all issues of mutual interest including on Afghanistan, and we have consistently received support and encouragement from our US partners for our constructive role in Afghanistan”.
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