Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta brushed aside concerns on Wednesday that drone strikes against leaders of Al Qaeda in Pakistan violate that country’s sovereignty.
”œWe have made clear to the Pakistanis that the United States of America is going to defend ourselves against those who attack us,” Mr. Panetta said. ”œThis is not just about protecting the United States. It’s also about protecting Pakistan. And we have made it very clear that we are going to continue to defend ourselves.”
Mr. Panetta’s remarks, delivered Wednesday during a question-and-answer session after a speech here at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, show yet again how strained the relationship between Islamabad and Washington has become.
He chuckled along with his audience about Pakistan’s lack of warning before the United States killed Osama bin Laden in a raid last year near a huge Pakistani Army base. ”œThey didn’t know about our operation,” Mr. Panetta said to laughter. ”œThat was the whole idea.”
Joking with a group of high-level Indians about a raid that has been keenly embarrassing to Pakistani military leaders is not likely to be received warmly in Islamabad. But Mr. Panetta made clear that the United States and India both have troubled relationships with Pakistan.
”œJust as India views the relationship with Pakistan as complicated, so do we,” Mr. Panetta said. ”œAnd it is.”
Wow, stunningly arrogant. He also seems to want stop anyway headway gained in India and Pakistan repairing their relationship.