(Article changed on February 28, 2013 at 14:51)
(Article changed on February 28, 2013 at 11:58)
US Secretary of defense Chuck Hagel suggested in a previously unreleased 2011 speech that India has for many years sponsored terrorist activities against Pakistan in Afghanistan.
In a speech, delivered at Oklahoma's Cameron University, Chuck Hagel said: "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 the tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years," remarked Chuck Hagel who was a US senator at the time.
A video containing these remarks was uploaded by Washington Free Beacon.
Not surprisingly, Hagel's remarks sparked a strong reaction from India which said such comments are "contrary to the reality" of its unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghans.
a statement the Indian Embassy in Washington said: "Such comments
attributed to Senator Hagel, who has been a long-standing friend of India and a
prominent votary of close India-US relations are contrary to the reality of
India's unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghan people".
It added that India's commitment to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is unwavering, "and this is reflected in our significant assistance to Afghanistan in developing its economy, infrastructure and institutional capacities".
"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.
According to Sadanand Dhume, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, it is a sharp departure from a U.S. position that has seen democratic India as a stabilizing influence in Afghanistan and Asia more broadly. Sadanand Dhume, who is former India bureau chief at the Far Eastern Economic Review, added: "It's also exactly the sort of statement that would have frayed ties with New Delhi, which has been watching the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan with concern."
"This statement reflects the views of the more paranoid elements of the Pakistan establishment more than mainstream U.S. opinion," Dhume said adding: "It's a dated way of looking at a part of the world important to U.S. interests in Asia."
Pakistan has often accused India of fomenting separatism in its mineral rich largest province Baluchistan. A leading English newspaper -- The News -- reported on April 21, 2011 that there is strong evidence of Indian support in planning, commissioning and preparing acts of terrorism in Balochistan through setting up of 26 centres of terrorism (consulates) along the western border in Afghanistan.
The paper went on to say that India has managed to seek support of some of angry tribes involved in harboring terrorist attacks on strategically important installation in Balochistan.
The News said that the RAND Corporation scholar Christine
Fair has validated Pakistan's legitimate claim about India's involvement in
fanning unrest in Balochistan. She further contended that "Having visited the
Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as
the main activity. Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar
(through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from
the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Kandahar along the