Pakistan is a partner in the fight against terrorism and not a state that sponsors terrorism, said the US State Department while elaborating on a statement by Defence Secretary Leon Panetta who accused Pakistan of having links with terrorist groups.
At a discussion at the US National Defence University here on Tuesday, Mr Panetta said that Pakistan had links with Lashkar-e Taiba and the Haqqani network, which had complicated its relationship with the United States.
Later, Washington-based Indian journalists raised the issue at a State Department briefing, arguing that after Mr Panetta’s statement the US had no option but to declare Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism.
“I think Secretary Panetta spoke to our concern about how these two organisations operate and any relationship that they may have with Pakistan, which is a subject that we talk about with Pakistan, which is a different issue than a state being a sponsor of terrorism itself,” said the department’s spokesman Victoria Nuland while explaining the US position on this issue.
“No,” she said when a journalist asked if she believed Secretary Panetta was accusing the government of Pakistan of having ties to the two terrorist groups.