Paving the way for grant of further aid to Pakistan, US Secretary of State John Kerry has certified that the Pakistani government has ‘acted’ terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
The certification makes Pakistan eligible for an aid package under the Kerry-Lugar Bill, reports said Monday. The Bill has ‘actions against terror groups’ as one of the conditions that Pakistan must fulfil to be eligible for aid from the US.
Passed by the US Congress in 2010, the Kerry-Luager Bill was proposed by John Kerry and Richard Lugar. It authorises the release of USD 1.5 billion per year to the Pakistan as non-military aid for the period of 2010-2014.
With Kerry certifying the ‘action’ taken by Pakistan against al Qaeda, Taliban and other terror groups like the LeT and JeM, the US President Barack Obama is expected to clear the payment soon.
Importantly, the US’ decision comes weeks ahead of Kerry’s visit to Islamabad to hold ‘strategic dialogue’ with Pakistan.
The grant of further aid is likely to leave India outraged given Pakistan’s continued support to terror elements operating from within its borders. The establishment in Islamabad has looked increasingly non-committal on reigning in terror bosses like Hafiz Saeed of the JeM, much to India’s discomfort.
Saeed, who is among India’s most wanted and the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, has moved moved around freely in Pakistan in 2014 and even held public rallies to vent his anti-India venom.
Also, the fact that Kerry is due to be present at the Vibrant Gujarat summit, which begins in Gandhinagar on January 11, will add to India’s discomfort with America’s line of tackling terror.
The recent incident involving two Pakistani boats entering Indian waters in Gujarat without authorization has also added to India’s concerns about Islamabad’s real intentions on tackling terror.
Kerry’s India visit will precede President Barack Obama’s high-profile state visit to New Delhi as chief guest of the Republic Day celebrations on January 26.
Obama is coming to Delhi on an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He will become the first US President to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations and also the first American President to visit India twice.