New York, Jan. 22 : Giving in to its long standing demand, the United States has agreed to share drone technology and provide at least a dozen unarmed aerial vehicles to Pakistan.
During his visit to Pakistan, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said that Washington is planning to provide some unarmed spy drones to Islamabad to encourage it to fight against Islamic militants on the Afghan border and do more in the region.
“ There are some tactical U. A. V.’s that we are considering, yes,” Gates said while replying to a question during a television interview.
Gates, who is on a two-day visit to Pakistan, had attracted heat from the Pakistani leadership when, during his recent India visit, he had said that any more 26/11 like attacks on India originating from Pakistani soil will check its patience.
While opposing the continuous drone attacks in the lawless tribal region along the Afghan border, Pakistan has been vigorously demanding the drone technology to strike militant hideouts itself.
However, the Obama administration has been reluctant to provide the ‘armed’ drone technology to Islamabad.
The Shadow surveillance drone appears to be a compromise aimed at enticing Pakistan further into the war and helping the country’s political leadership explain the drone strikes to a deeply suspicious and anti-American public, The New York Times reports.
Gates’ latest offer is being seen as a positive step that will help reduce the humiliation faced by the Pakistani leadership.
“It will have a very positive political impact. It will reduce the embarrassment of the political leadership,” said Talat Masood, a retired army general.
American defense officials said that the drones would be for use in Pakistan’s tribal areas and would be restricted to defensive rather than offensive operations, but are concerned that Pakistan might use the drones against India. (ANI)