Panetta didn't provoke Pakistan: Pentagon
WASHINGTON (PAN): The remarks of United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during his New Delhi visit, appreciating India’s role in Afghanistan, were not “potentially provocative” against Pakistan, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
News reports that Panetta asked India to step up efforts in Afghanistan were slightly exaggerated, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt John Kirby told a news conference.
“I think the reports have been slightly exaggerated. I don't believe the (defense) secretary asked them or pressed them to do more, rather he expressed how much he appreciated the work they were doing to help provide support in Afghanistan, and some of the things they expressed interest in continuing to do in Afghanistan, but also in the region.
“And our engagement in the region is not about bilateral relations only with any one particular country. We have long said that security in Afghanistan is tied very closely to our relationship with Pakistan, as it is also with our relationship with other countries in the region, including India,” he explained.
The US encouraged all countries in the region, which came out of the Chicago summit, and around the world to continue to do more to invest in Afghanistan's future, the spokesman added.
“He's in India to thank them for their efforts at regional leadership and to look for ways to deepen our defense cooperation with India and our relationship with India. We are very appreciative of India's efforts in the region and in Afghanistan in particular,” Kirby said.
Panetta expressed his gratitude for what India had done in Afghanistan and hoped they would continue to stay engaged in the region, and in particular in helping Afghanistan, he concluded.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.