Obama unveils $3.77 trln budget, increases Pak aid

Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed a 40 per cent increase in American aid to Pakistan, amounting to USD 1.4 billion, as part of his USD 3.77 trillion budget that focusses on new job creation and economic growth.

Obama among other things proposed to increase the US aid to Pakistan under overseas contingency operations to USD 1.4 billion for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2013, an increase of 40 per cent than the USD 1 billion that he had proposed in the last year's budget for the fiscal 2013.

The US president also proposed to reduce the deficit by another USD 1.8 trillion.

According to Obama's budget proposals, the State Department's USD 47.8 billion budget includes USD 6.8 billion for the frontline states of Iraq (USD 2.1 billion), Afghanistan (USD 3.4 billion), and Pakistan (USD 1.4 billion).

The proposals included USD three billion in base funding and USD 3.8 billion in overseas contingency operations funding.

"The Budget prioritises core diplomatic and development activities to ensure strong, lasting partnerships with these countries and to promote stability," the proposals said.

In view of the terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi in Libya last year, the budget provides over USD 4 billion to secure overseas personnel and facilities, including sufficient funding for the State Department to increase embassy security construction to USD 2.2 billion, as recommended by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board.

The Budget continues support for US security, diplomatic, and development goals in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, while scaling down funding for operations and assistance.

It includes resources for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to support strong, long term partnerships with these countries.

Obama's budget also reflects its latest posture in the Asia pacific region.

The US and its interests are inextricably linked with Asia's economies and security, and it welcomes economic prosperity across the Asia-Pacific region, the proposals said.