India has praised the decision by the U.S. to suspend an $800-million military aid package to its traditional enemy and nuclear neighbor, Pakistan.

India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters in Delhi: “With reference to the special circumstances between India and Pakistan and how India has consistently taken the view that it is not desirable that this region had to be heavily armed by the U.S. which will upset the equilibrium in the region itself -- to that extent India welcomes this step,”

Relations between the US and Pakistan have deteriorated, made worse by the discovery that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has been living peacefully in the country for several years.

Top US officials have openly accused Pakistani intelligence officials of aiding and abetting terrorists – charges that Islamabad has denied.

The Hindu reported that the suspended amount of aid – which represents more than one-third of the US total $2-billion annual funding to Pakistan – also includes about $300-million which would have been used to partially reimburse Pakistan for costs related to deploying more than 100,000 soldiers along the Afghan border to fight terrorists.

Krishna added: “Simultaneously the U.S. must take note of the fact that we are working in a very committed manner to normalize our relations with Pakistan to reduce trust deficit, and efforts are on.”

Krishna also said he expects his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, to visit India later this month for more talks.