Relevant extracts from the daily press briefing of March 18, 2004
Question: Pakistan is going to be named a major non-NATO ally. Is there anything major, in practical terms, about this, or is it just symbolic?
Adam Ereli: I think it's a recognition of our close and continuing cooperation with Pakistan in the global war on terrorism. This is a fairly, I think, exclusive club, if you will. Other major non-NATO allies are Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand.
I think it shows -- demonstrates a commitment to a positive and long-term relationship with Pakistan. It comes on the heels of our pledge to work with Congress on a $3 billion multi-year assistance package for Pakistan. Practically, what it involves is foreign -- access to war reserve stockpiles on Pakistani territory, cooperative training agreements with the United States and ability to use foreign military financing for commercial leasing of certain defense articles.
So it's important, I think, materially, but also very important in that it sends a signal of close and strong and lasting cooperation.
Adam Ereli: No.
Question: Do you think that's going to -- I mean, the access to kind of war reserves and foreign military financing, that kind of thing -- do you think that's going to kind of heighten tensions with India in any way?
Adam Ereli: No, it shouldn't. I mean, this is something that we have -- first of all, we have a good and close relationship with India, independent of the relationship with Pakistan.
I would point to the strategic partnership which we announced here in January that shows, I think, the strength and depth of that relationship and the kind of cooperation that we're engaged with with India, in the area of trade and development of high-tech goods. And we don't see our relationship with India or Pakistan as a zero sum game.
I mean, we look at it on a case-by-case basis. There's a unique set of circumstances in each country, which we appreciate in the context of our relations with that country.
Question: Having said that, though, were the Indians notified beforehand that you were going to take this position?
Adam Ereli: You know, this is not something that we cared to advertise beforehand.