Hagel’s remarks against India ‘bizarre’: BJP

New Delhi: Terming as "outlandish and bizarre" the statement of Chuck Hagel, the new US Defence Secretary, that India has financed problems for Pakistan in Afghanistan, BJP today asked the government to exert diplomatic pressure on Washington for unconditional withdrawal of his statement.

The statement given by Hagel that India has financed problems in Pakistan is "outlandish, bizarre and baseless," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

He also expressed surprise over Hagel giving a clean to Pakistan, which has harboured in the backyard of its military base al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, who was responsible for killing of more than 5000 Americans in the World Trade Centre attack.

"BJP is concerned at the indifference of the Indian government by not reacting to Hagel. BJP demands that Government of India uses its diplomatic pressure to see that Mr Chuck Hagel retracts his statement unconditionally," Rudy said.

Hagel had made the remarks during a speech at Oklahoma's Cameron University in 2011, which has surfaced now.

"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," the former Republican Senator had said.

His remarks are considered in sharp contrast to viewpoint of Obama Administration that has always been in praise of India's developmental role in Afghanistan and in fact has been pressing New Delhi to do more in Afghanistan.

Reacting to this, the Indian Embassy in Washington had said, "Such comments attributed to Senator Hagel, who has been a long-standing friend of India and a prominent votary of close India-US relations, are contrary to the reality of India's unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghan people".

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said such statements from Hagel are "bad news" for India.

"This is a matter of serious concern to India. Just the Indian embassy in the US reacting to it is not enough. India should respond to it," he told reporters.

"Doubts have already been raised about US Secretary of State John Kerry and now Hagel has spoken on these lines. What kind of a team is President Barack Obama building. They are entirely pro-Pakistan and anti-India," Sinha said.

Rudy said, "The country which favoured Osama is being favoured by the Defence Secretary of the US. It is hilarious and condemnable."