The US is now mulling supply of unarmed surveillance vehicles to Pakistan to aid its war against the Taliban. It is unclear whether there would be conditions restraining the use of these drones along the Indian border.
US today unveiled plans to supply 12 unarmed drone aircraft to Pakistan to boost surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities even as Defence Secretary Robert Gates sought to allay regional concerns by saying America is providing weapons to India and Pakistan on an equitable basis.
Mr. Mr. Gates disclosed details of US decision to supply RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicles to Pakistan during an interaction at the US embassy with members of the local media.
He said the US has set aside one billion dollars in its Coalition Support Fund to provide weapons and equipment to Pakistan for the war against terrorism and the drones would be part of this package.
The Shadow UAVs will help build the Pakistan Army’s capacity for intelligence-gathering, he said.
US officials accompanying Mr. Gates told the media that 12 Shadow UAVs will be supplied to Pakistan.
It is not clear whether the US would impose any condition whereby the Shadow drones could not be used along Pakistan’s eastern border with India.
During a subsequent interview with Radio Pakistan, Mr. Gates sought to allay regional concerns over the supply of arms by saying the US provides defence equipment to India and Pakistan on an equitable basis.
The US makes careful decisions in terms of what is being offered to both countries, he said.