Edited By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar
Last Updated: February 25, 2023, 09:24 IST
US state dept official Lu was accused of facilitating regime change in Pakistan in 2022 by then-PM Imran Khan (Image: US State Department)
Lu’s comments on Friday came shortly after Pakistan said it would receive $700 million from China Development Bank (CDB)
US state department’s assistant secretary of state for south and central Asia Donald Lu this week said the US and India have discussed how to help countries like Sri Lanka in making their own economic decisions, rather than being compelled by any outside force.
Lu referred to China and pointed out that both China and Sri Lanka and other nations in the region , many of whom have taken loans worth tens of billions from China or Chinese lenders.
“Concerning Chinese loans to countries in India’s immediate neighbourhood (Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal), we are deeply concerned that loans may be used for coercive leverage,” Lu said, according to PTI.
Lu comments come before his trip to India. He will visit New Delhi on an official visit from March 1 to March 3. He said the aforementioned countries should not feel compelled to take economic decisions due to any outside partner.
“We are talking to India, talking to countries of the region about how we can help countries to make their own decisions and not decisions that might be compelled by any outside partner, including China,” Lu further added.
Lu and Imran Khan were involved in a diplomatic tussle after the former Pakistan prime minister alleged that Lu masterminded his ouster via the vote of no-confidence in April 2022.
Khan claimed that the regime change in Pakistan was orchestrated by the US and Lu was an important part of the plan.
He also said at that time that the diplomat threatened Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, that a failure to remove Imran through a no-confidence vote would herald “consequences” for Pakistan.
Lu’s comments came shortly after reports surfaced that Pakistan will receive $700 million from China Development Bank (CDB). The nation’s finance minister Ishaq Dar made the announcement on Thursday.
Lu also said that India and the US were involved in serious discussions on the issue of China. “We have had serious conversations about China, both before the latest scandal over this surveillance balloon but in the aftermath. So, I fully expect those conversations will continue,” he said.
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