Nuclear-powered Pakistan is too dangerous area of the world to simply walk away, U.S. Defence Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel has told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing.

“I think Pakistan is too dangerous and that area of the world is so clearly in the national security interests of this country that we just can’t walk away from it and not deal with them,” Mr. Hagel, the two-time former Senator from Nebraska said on Thursday in his answers to a 112-page questionnaire for the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Mr. Hagel, a Vietnam war veteran, has been nominated by President Barack Obama as his next Defence Secretary. If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace Leon Panetta.

“It is complicated, it is imperfect, but this is where all the levers of influence and relationships and diplomacy and economics and power come into play. How we wisely use all of those resources is going to determine some of the outcomes,” Mr. Hagel said.

“Pakistan is a complicated relationship. It is a nuclear power. They cooperate with the United States on some things. We have difficulties with them on others,” Mr. Hagel said in response to a question from Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly.

“As we know, the incredible challenges we have in Afghanistan, so much of it is caused by Pakistan. We spent or provided about $2.5 billion in aid. Do you think those were dollars well spent?” the Senator had asked.

“We have to be honest as well. We are dealing with factors there that we don’t agree with, that we have difficulties with. But again, we have to continue to work at it and I believe that we will and we should,” Mr. Hagel stressed.

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