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Feb 27, 2013 at 01:24pm IST

US's new Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel faces criticism over his anti-India remarks

Washington: India's embassy in Washington DC has put out a statement rejecting US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel's allegations that India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan. "Such comments are contrary to the reality of India's unbounded dedication to the welfare of the Afghan people. India's commitment to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is unwavering," the Indian Embassy said in its statement.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said, "India requires no explanation from anyone. We have had constructive engagement in Afghanistan."

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US President Barack Obama's choice Chuck Hagel has been confirmed as the new US Secretary of Defence. Hagel was in the news recently for his allegations that India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan. But sources say the remarks, made in 2011, may be an attempt by critics to project him as unsuitable for the job.

But Hagel's remarks could also embarrass Obama because they are in sharp contrast to US policy which views India's role in Afghanistan positively.

A video containing these remarks from an unreleased speech of Hagel at Oklahoma's Cameron University in 2011 was uploaded by Washington Free Beacon. Hagel, during the speech said, "India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border".

"And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being [that] the tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years," Hagel said.