Statements to Media by US Congress Members, Government Officials and Spokesman for French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
- Spokesman for French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
Friday, March 2, 2012
SPOKESMAN: Yesterday, Pakistan decided to further open its borders to trade with India and to embark on the path toward normalizing its trade relations with its neighbor. France welcomes this decision, which follows the visit to Islamabad by India's Commerce Minister, Mr. Anand Sharma. It's the first step in the plan approved by both governments aimed at standardizing economic relations by granting, in a spirit of reciprocity based on the current situation, the most-favored nation status to India. This normalization of trade relations represents a significant and positive step forward in the political dialogue that was relaunched nearly a year ago between the two countries. It paves the way toward strengthening economic relations between India and Pakistan, which in turn will ensure greater prosperity throughout the subcontinent.
- Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee Subject: "European Command and U.S. Africa Command in Review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2013 and the Future Years Defense Program"
Thursday, March 1, 2012
SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R-MA):: Thank you. And Admiral, one final question and I'll wrap it up with my testimony — with my inquiring. Our relationship with Pakistan is obviously a direct impact on your ability to maintain lines of communications through their country. And our combat footprint in Afghanistan, as it evolves, we obviously have a huge logistical tail that follows. How will this affect EUCOM's relationship with TRANSCOM to facilitate an adequate flow of equipment along the Northern Distribution Network?
ADMIRAL JIM STAVRIDIS, COMMANDER, EUROPEAN COMMAND, SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, EUROPE: It's a terrific question that we are wrestling with, because, as you correctly say, in order to get all of our equipment out of Afghanistan over the next two or three years will be a significant logistical task. I'm in contact constantly with General Fraser, TRANSCOM, to ensure that we can move it through that Northern Distribution Network, and that gets into a lot of complex politics along that route, to say the least. On Pakistan, I think we're moving in a somewhat better direction than we were, say, six months ago, five months ago. So hopefully, we'll have access both to those southern and the northern. But I think hope for the best, plan for the worst, and we're doing that.
- Hearing of the House Armed Services Committee Subject: "FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from U.S. Pacific Command"
Thursday, March 1, 2012
REPRESENTATIVE JOE WILSON (R-SC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral, thank you very much for being here. My father served with the 14th Air Force, the Flying Tigers, in India and China, and so, as you know, military service impacts your whole family. And so I grew up with a real understanding and appreciation of how hardworking and capable the people of India and China are. It's been really good to see their developing relationship with India. Because of my dad's service, I became the chairman India Caucus. So I've seen a relationship develop our countries. What is the status of the partnership with India?
ADMIRAL ROBERT WILLARD, COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND: Thank you. Great question, and thank you for bringing India up and South Asia as a very important sub region within the Asia Pacific. The relationship with India is strong and growing stronger. It's not without its challenges. We don't have a great, a long history between the countries, as you know. We went through a Cold War without much of a relationship at all. And following the nuclear tests in the late 1990s, we suspended relations government-to- government. So we've only really been acquainted with India in the past decade, and mil-to-mil we began at a pretty nascent stage and have progressed to the point that today we exercise with India across all the services. It's one of the most significant security-assistance programs that we have in the Asia Pacific theater right now. And I think government-to-government the United States and India have made great progress. And I've had the opportunity to be introduced into India's senior leadership, and they're very interested in an ongoing relationship with the United States. At the same time, they pride themselves in what they term "strategic autonomy," kind of a nonalliance philosophy. And as a consequence of that, we are challenged in the relationship by virtue of India seeking to balance its associations with many other nations as well. We're challenged in our relationship with Pakistan as a consequence of the animosity that has existed historically between India and Pakistan. And India's in a very challenged part of the world, as we all know, with Afghanistan close by, Pakistan as a neighbor, the Kashmir issue which has persisted for a long time, and a disputed border between India China. So there are a lot of issues on the plate, and we're seeking to continue to dialogue with India, terror being one of them, and try to improve the relations where we can.
REP. WILSON: And I was grateful to be in Islamabad last week during the same time that the speaker of the Indian parliament, of all things, was visiting, and so to see the relationship and trade has resumed between India and Pakistan, and to me a stable Pakistan, the greatest beneficiary would be India. So I hope that's the case. And in fact, too, they have a joint enemy and that's LET. And of course, LET led the murderous assault on Mumbai. What efforts are being made to counteract that level of terrorists?
ADM. WILLARD: Thank you. We have currently Special Forces assist teams, Pacific assist teams is the term, laid down in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives as well as India. And we're working very closely with India with regard to their counterterrorism capabilities. And in particular on the maritime domain, but also government-to- government, not necessarily DOD, but other agencies assisting them in terms of their internal counterterror and counterinsurgency challenges. Lashkar-e-Taiba is very dangerous. Pakistani based, very good operational security and a lot of international design in terms of their aspirations. So it's a very important threat, and we're working very closely with the nations in the region to help contain it.