It refuted reports that Panetta’s call for more deeper involvement in Afghanistan is not “potentially provocative” against Pakistan.
“India is a global power and they are meeting their responsibilities and we welcome that,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt John Kirby told reporters.
Responding to questions at a Pentagon news conference, Kirby said Panetta during his ongoing India visit expressed his gratitude for what India has done in Afghanistan and hoped that they will continue to stay engaged in the region, and in particular in helping Afghanistan as it moves forward.
Kirby said the reports that Panetta asked India to step up its efforts in Afghanistan is slightly exaggerated.
“I think the reports have been slightly exaggerated. I don’t believe the Secretary asked them to or pressed them to do more, rather than expressed how much he appreciated the work they were doing to help provide support in Afghanistan and some of the things that they have expressed interest in continuing to do in Afghanistan, but also in the region,” he said.
“I think it was really more a statement of appreciation for everything they’ve done and the hope that they’ll continue to stay involved as a leader in the region. It is a vital part of the world. And our engagement in the region is not about bilateral relations only with any one particular country.
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