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'Somebody in the state dept is bent on arming Pakistan'

'Somebody in the state dept is bent on arming Pakistan'

Author: Josy Joseph
Publication: DNA India
Date: August 31, 2009
URL: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_somebody-in-the-state-dept-is-bent-on-arming-pakistan_1286497

Islamabad's illegal modification of Harpoon missiles for attack against land targets in India is symbolic of Pakistan military's obsession with India. But Indian military sources say, the worse is the continuing American military assistance to Pakistan in the name of terrorism that in reality is arming its military for a conventional war against India.

"It is a matter of finer nuance (if Harpoon has been modified). But what we are worried about, and what we have been repeatedly telling the Americans, is that all the systems they have been supplying to Pakistan after 9/11 has nothing to do with terrorism. They are all arms meant for a conventional scenario (against India)," says a senior army general.

A recently retired military chief says the US military leadership "understands what we [India] say, but it is at the state department that someone is bent upon arming Pakistan".
Former navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash said none of the weapons that the US has given Pakistan -- surveillance radars, P3C aircraft and F-16 fighters -- has any specific counter-terrorism role. Historically "these weapons have been used against India", not terrorists, he said.

Admiral Prakash says the Harpoon is not of much significance in military terms. "Even if they [Harpoons] are modified for land attacks, they don't have much range and cannot take heavy payloads. The bigger worry for us has been the Babur missiles supplied by the Chinese that can carry heavier payloads and have a significant range," says Admiral Prakash.

The NYT, too, quotes a defence expert as saying that Pakistan doesn't have to modify Harpoons and it already has better land-attack missiles. Calling the US accusation "incorrect", an official from Islamabad said that the missile tested was prepared by Pakistan, the report said.

A senior Indian army officer said that India's worry is not so much the old Harpoon missiles, but the "array of new generation US systems that have provided Pakistani military a huge leap in their capabilities".

That includes a new generation of Harpoon missiles, given after 9/11 when the US revived military assistance to Pakistan that had been stalled because of various sanctions in the 1990s.

Among the systems that the US military has received in the name of terrorism are armed maritime surveillance aircraft, new generation missiles, new F-16 fighters, 155 mm artillery guns, C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and attack helicopters, among others. "Tell me, which one of it is a counter-terrorism weapon, other than the helicopters, probably?" asks a senior air force officer.

Another officer said there is a possibility that the US is deliberately using terrorism as an excuse to arm Pakistan to check India's military strength.

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