Washington: Taking on board India's concerns, the US Congress on Friday cleared a bill that sets out tough conditions on the US $2.3 billion military assistance to Pakistan to make sure that these funds are not squandered or diverted to affect the "balance of power in the region".
The military assistance is to be given in one year and is in addition to the US $1.5 billion non-military aid being given to Pakistan per annum for the next five years as approved by the Kerry-Lugar Bill, which was signed into law by US President Barack Obama early this month.
"We can't lose sight of the very reason Pakistan receives these funds: They are a reimbursement for expenses incurred fighting terrorists and supporting US-led efforts to do the same," Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat, said.
"That fight is important to our own national security, and we have to ensure that our support for it is not being squandered or diverted. It is not only right for us to ensure that American taxpayer money does what it is intended to do, it is our duty as stewards of the national security and of taxpayer money," he said.
The US $2.3 billion aid to Pakistan is part of US $680 billion 2010 Defense Authorisation Bill, which was passed by the Senate on Thursday and the House of Representatives early this month.
The bill now goes to Obama to sign it into law.