ISI’s strategic approach needs to be changed: US

New Delhi, July 23 (Calcutta Tube) The US Friday said the ‘strategic approach’ of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) ‘fundamentally’ needed to be changed as a lot was not known about the spy agency.

‘I believe that the strategic approach, the overall strategic approach of the ISI needs to be fundamentally changed. That is the concern I raised over security many times. There’s a lot I know about the ISI and there is a lot I don’t know about the ISI,’ said Admiral Michael Mullen, the visiting chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, America’s top-most military commander.

Mullen’s remarks about the ISI came a day after US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke described as ‘a problem’ the links between ISI and the Taliban, a nexus highlighted as dangerous by New Delhi many times.

Mullen was speaking to reporters here after a series of meetings with Indian officials during which he also met Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

Antony during his meeting with the top US commander conveyed India’s concerns over the American military aid to Pakistan being misused against it.

According to official sources, Antony asked the US to establish a ‘monitoring mechanism’ to ensure that Pakistan uses the military aid in its war against the terror and not against India.

‘Antony conveyed to him (Mullen) the Indian concern over the US aid to Pakistan and told him that it should only be used to fight terror. The amount of aid to Pakistan is disproportionate and is much more than needed to fight terror,’ an official privy to the meeting told IANS.

Mullen on his part said that the US aid was not aimed at to disturb the military balance between the two countries.

‘The cooperation (between India and the US) is very reflective of the growing relationship along with trust. At the same time I understand the concerns that have been raised with respect to selling (weapons) to Pakistan. I encouraged the leadership to keep those issues on the table. I understand the concerns and at the same I don’t believe that we sold any weapon to Pakistan which greatly imbalances the capabilities between the two countries,’ the admiral said.

In their 45-minute meeting at the South Block, Mullen, according to sources apprised the defence minister about the American assessment of the security situation prevailing in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Mullen said the US-led forces in Afghanistan were ‘exerting enormous pressure and action against the Taliban across the board’.

The Pakistan-backed Haqqani terror network, he said, ‘is an important issue and I have raised it with the Pakistani leadership. Anyway these are lethal networks and the Pakistani leadership is aware of that.’

Mullen also renewed US Defence Secretary Robert Gates’ invitation to Antony to visit Washington, which was accepted.

Antony will be visiting the US in the last week of September, the sources said.

Earlier in the day, Mullen called on his Indian counterpart and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik.

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