India sharply criticizes US defence secretary for his 'anti-India' remarks
Taking a diagonally opposite view of Barack Obama's position of India's role in Afghanistan, the new US defense secretary Chuk Hagel has created a storm by claiming that India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan in Afghanistan.
Indian embassy in the US has refuted the allegation in strong words saying that such comments are "contrary to the reality" of its unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghans. A video from 2011, containing unreleased speech of Hagel has surfaced in which he could be seen criticizing India’s role in the war-torn Afghanistan. The video of the speech made at Oklahoma's Cameron University in 2011 was uploaded by Washington Free Beacon.
“India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India
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 said in the video, as reported by India Today.
Indian embassy in reply to the charges made by Hagel said both the government and the people of Afghanistan have appreciated India's efforts in rebuilding the war-torn country.
“Our opposition to terrorism and its safe havens in our neighborhood is firm and unshakable. India's development assistance has been deeply appreciated by the people and the Government of Afghanistan, and by our friends around the world including the US. We do not view our engagement with Afghanistan as a zero sum game," the embassy said.
India's main opposition party BJP has also sharply criticized Hagel for “anti-India” remarks, while terming his statement as "outlandish and bizarre". BJP also demanded from the government to exert diplomatic pressure on Washington for unconditional withdrawal of his statement.