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F-16s not safe in Pak's hands: Pallone
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, January 13, 200512:31 IST

US Congressman Frank J Pallone Jr is convinced that the F-16s the US proposes to sell to Pakistan are "likely to be used against India."

"The history of nuclear trends shows that such weapons are not safe in the hands of Pakistan," Pallone, founder of the India Caucus, said in New Delhi.

Pallone is in India as part of a 12-member US Congressional delegation that will visit the three worst tsunami-hit nations, including India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. "Such arms sale makes me suspicious. Where else would Pakistan use such weapons except in India?" Pallone asked.

He stressed on the point that it's 'irresponsible' to entrust Pakistan with nuclear facilities.
"The possibilities of their (F-16s) being used by Jehadi (fundamentalist) forces can't also be ruled out," said Pallone.

Pallone founded the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, better known as the India Caucus, in 1993.

Over the last 12 years, the caucus has grown to include 184 members of Congress and is the largest country caucus in the US House of Representatives.

Pallone, who is known to promote India's cause in Washington DC, is upbeat about India-US relations going from strength to strength in the days to come.

"India is being increasingly seen in Washington as a strategic ally and as a reliable partner in the global war on terror," Pallone said. Pallone is a passionate advocate for de-clubbing US-India relations from US-Pakistan relations.

"The relationship is steadily growing and maturing with every passing day. There is a bipartisan consensus on pursuing good relations with India. It really doesn't matter who is in power — the Democrats or the Republicans," said Pallone, a Democrat who confessed that there had been some anxiety among Democrats about the course of India-US relations when Republicans led by George W Bush were voted to power five years ago.

Praising India's handling of the post-tsunami relief operations, Pallone said: "India's refusal to accept help shows its confidence and increasing self-reliance in managing the aftermath of massive disasters such as the December 26 tsunami blitz."

According to Pallone, more proactive participation of Indian Americans in the political processes is the key to more clout in the US political system.

"The Indian-American community is empowered politically. They have a substantial political presence. The election of Bobby Jindal to the House of Representatives is a strong indicator that we are going to see more and more Indian Americans being elected to legislatures and even local bodies," said Pallone.

"Defence ties between India and the US are going to be increasingly important. The Bush administration sees defence ties as the driving force of bilateral relationships, specially with India," said Pallone.

"Enhanced defence cooperation is a precursor to better economic and trade relations," said Pallone, who represents the people of the sixth district of New Jersey in the House.



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Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 4:57 PM

 

 
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