Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta said Wednesday that the US would continue to attack al Qaeda in Pakistan following the killing of the group’s number two Abu Yahya al-Libi. “We have made it very clear that we are going to continue to
defend ourselves,” Secretary of Defence Panetta said when asked about drone strikes in Pakistan during a trip to India.
He said the sovereignty of the United States was also at stake because the militants who planned the September 11 attacks were in Pakistan’s tribal areas. “The leadership of those who were involved in planning this attack are located
in Pakistan, in the Fata,” he said.
Moreover, he said that India and the United States had “often deep” differences with Pakistan but said Washington and New Delhi needed to work to overcome them. “Pakistan is a complicated relationship for both of our countries
but one that we must work to improve,” he was to say in a speech in New Delhi where he is meeting the country’s leaders to discuss China and Afghanistan.
“India and the United States will need to continue to engage Pakistan, overcoming our respective—and often deep—differences with Pakistan to make all of South Asia peaceful and prosperous,” he added, according to prepared comments
released ahead of the address. Panetta welcomed steps taken by India and Pakistan to normalise their trade relations, a new focus by the neighbours who are hoping greater commerce can pull them together.
Pakistan has promised to let more Indian imports in by year-end and they opened a second trading post in April along their heavily militarised border. India has said it is ready to end a ban on investment from Pakistan and the
countries are planning to allow multiple-entry business visas to spur exchanges—a key demand by company executives.