Washington, Jul 26: The US-Pak military ties are going through a “very difficult time“, a top Pentagon official has conceded, but Washington is nowhere close to severing its ties with its longstanding ally.
“I think that decision is representative of concerns, certainly, that are held in my Congress with respect to the status of the relationship, the needs to do certain things to move ahead here, and that”s a very strong signal in that regard,” Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told foreign journalists at a news conference here.
Mullen was responding to questions about the recent US decision to withhold about USD 800 million of military assistance to Pakistan, which the Pentagon says is in response to Pakistan’s decision to expel US trainers and deny visas to its people.
“We’re in a very difficult time right now with respect to our military-to-military relationship,” Mullen conceded, but added that it doed not mean the relationship would end.
“That said, I don’t believe we’re close to severing it, and we shouldn’t do that. I think sustaining this relationship is critical. We’ve been through difficult times with them in the past, and we should see this difficult time through, in terms of sustaining this relationship over time”.
He said his interactions with the military leadership of Pakistan, including General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, indicates that Islamabad too was supportive of continuing the bilateral relationship.