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Updated: January 24, 2010 02:25 IST

Focus on western border, Gates tells Islamabad

PTI
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US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates addresses a press conference in New Delhi recently. Photo: R V Moorthy
The Hindu US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates addresses a press conference in New Delhi recently. Photo: R V Moorthy

A day after the US announced plans to extend tactical help to Pakistan, American Defence Secretary Robert Gates sought to allay regional concerns by asking Islamabad to focus on legitimate threats along its western border.

The United States has asked Pakistan to shift its greater security role to the western border with Afghanistan as it is there that it faces an “existential threat” rather than on the frontier with India.

The visiting Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, has said Pakistan should commit itself to a greater role on its western border. He made these remarks during an interview with the state-run Pakistan Television while responding to questions why Washington believes Islamabad should commit itself to a greater role on its western borders.

“Well, I think... because it faces, in its own way, an existential threat on its western border,” Mr. Gates said.

Asked if there was no threat to Pakistan on the eastern border with India, he replied: “I said we understood Pakistan’s legitimate concerns. It also has an existential threat on its western border, and that is the more immediate threat.”

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