|Obama slammed for damaging Pak-US ties|
16 June 2012
WASHINGTON – A leading American Senator, John McCain, accused the Obama administration of needlessly damaging the US relationship with Pakistan and ‘antagonising the Pakistanis’ with an ‘in your face attitude’.
Speaking in PBS NewsHour programme, McCain said the administration’s encouragement of India taking a more active role in Afghanistan while simultaneously criticising Pakistan could be a recipe for disaster. “To further antagonise Pakistan unnecessarily is not something I would particularly think is appropriate,” said the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It’s a very delicate situation, one in which I would be very careful what we say publicly,” especially because the Pakistanis ‘are supporting organisations that are killing Americans’.
“I would have nurtured this relationship with India sort of the way we have been for years, rather than sort of antagonising the Pakistanis even more with this kind of in your face attitude,” he said.
Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta told reporters in Afghanistan last week that the United States was ‘reaching the limits of our patience’ with Pakistan, which he accused of providing a ‘safe haven’ for the Haqqani network and other groups that launch attacks on US forces. A day before these remarks, Panetta stopped in New Delhi, where he encouraged the Indian government to take a ‘more active role’ in training police and other reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.
McCain said that he has long supported a close relationship with India, but that he would ‘do it more quietly...(India) will be a very important ally to us in the future. And they are a democracy’.
McCain told PBS that while the Pakistanis often act counter to US interests, it “doesn’t mean that we also cut off all relations with Pakistan because then it could become even more unstable and we could have even greater challenges since they have a nuclear inventory, among other things.”
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