US disowns Hagel’s anti-India remarks

Published: 28th February 2013 09:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2013 09:31 AM   |  A+A-

Even before veteran US senator Chuck Hagel was sworn in as Secretary of Defence in Washington, the US embassy in New Delhi had already distanced himself from his remarks made two years ago that Afghanistan was India’s “second front” against Pakistan.

On Wednesday, the Vietnam war veteran and Republican senator Chuck Hagel was sworn as the new US Defence Secretary, a day after Senate confirmed him with a simple majority.

Earlier in the day here, the US embassy stated, “The US Government has distanced itself from the views that Chuck Hagel appeared to have held in 2011”.

It added that the US ‘strongly supports the positive role India continues to play in Afghanistan’. “We continue to support India’s bilateral assistance programme with Afghanistan, its leadership on private sector investment there, and promoting regional economic integration and linkages,” the embassy added.

“India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and it has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border…

“And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being [that] the tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years,” Hagel had said in his 2011 speech at Cameron University.

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