Pakistan Should Develop ‘Responsible Relationship’ With India: Blinken
NEW YORK, NY (IANS) – The US emphasized to Pakistan the importance of having a “responsible relationship” with India, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said in the wake of Washington facing New Delhi’s criticism of its proposal to give Pakistan F-16 spares and services worth $450 million.
After talks with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, he made the remark at an event commemorating 75 years of relations between the two countries that have ranged from Islamabad joining two military pacts, CENTO and SEATO to betraying Washington by harboring Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden who waged war on the US.
Bilawal Bhutto did not react to Blinken’s statement or bring up Kashmir in his speech, which was unusual for him.
Asked at his briefing about the F-16 deal with Pakistan, State Department spokesperson Ned Price on September 26 sidestepped the issue only repeating Washington’s line about having declined its relations with the two neighbors.
“We don’t view our relationship with Pakistan, and on the other hand we don’t view our relationship with India as in relation to one another,” he said.
“The relationship we have with India stands on its own; the relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own,” he added.
He described the two countries as “partners” with “different points of emphasis in each, and we look to both as partners because we do have in many cases shared values, we do have in many cases shared interests”.
“We also want to do everything we can to see to it that these neighbors have relations with one another that are as constructive as can be possible. And so that’s another point of emphasis,” he added.
Afghanistan continues to be a key factor in US-Pakistan relations, he acknowledged.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been trying to reset Pakistan’s relations with the US after the hostility shown by his predecessor Imran Khan.
Economy and disaster are adding urgency to this reset.
Pakistan needed US backing for the $1.1 billion loan approved by the International Monetary Fund to save it from the brink of economic collapse last month and now it needs US help to help deal with the catastrophic floods.
Blinken said, “here is the tremendous focus right now on the truly devastating floods that Pakistan has experienced, and we stand in strong solidarity with our friends in Pakistan”.
The US has announced additional aid of $10 million to the $56.1 million allotted earlier.