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India reacts strongly to US ’certification’ of Pakistan

New Delhi, Jaury 5: In a strong reaction to Washington’s pat to Islamabad for acting against terror groups, India on Monday said it does not believe Pakistan was showing “sustained commitment” in fighting such outfits. India, however, said how Washington chooses to spend US taxpayers’ money “is entirely its prerogative”. The ‘certification’ by the US makes Pakistan eligible for an aid package under the Kerry–Lugar Bill. The Bill has “actions against terror groups” as one of the conditions that Pakistan must fulfil to be eligible for aid from the US. It authorises the release of $1.5 billion per year to Pakistan as non–military aid.

“India does not believe that Pakistan is showing sustained commitment or making significant effort or ceasing support or dismantling bases of operations of the Lashkar–e–Taiba, Jaish–e–Muhammad, the Haqqani network and quite possibly the Al Qaeda,” exterl affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said in a statement on Monday. “Also with increasing citings of Punjabi/Urdu speaking elements operating with terrorist groups inside Afghanistan, we now also know that these very groups also pose a significant threat to members of the intertiol community working in Afghanistan including to Indian diplomatic personnel working in the Indian embassy in Kabul and our four consulates. “But as I said before – how the government of the United States of America decides to spend US taxpayers’ money is entirely its prerogative,” he said. US Secretary of State John Kerry certified Pakistan’s action against terror outfits LeT and Jaish–e–Mohammad (JeM). President Barack Obama is expected to grant a $532–million aid package soon to Pakistan under the Kerry–Lugar Bill for economic development and counter–terrorism efforts. The Bill, also known as the “Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009” was proposed by Kerry and Richard Lugar and passed by the US Congress in 2010.

It requires the US administration to certify that the Pakistan government has taken action to prevent “Al Qaeda, Taliban and associated terror groups such as Lashkar–e–Taiba from operating in the territory of Pakistan”. The certification comes ahead of Kerry’s visit to India for the Vibrant Gujarat Summit this month and to Islamabad later in the month. Obama is to attend the Republic Day parade as the chief guest.  (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita

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