WASHINGTON - As it seeks to step up the fight against militants along the Pak-Afghan border, the Obama administration plans to seek $3 billion over the next five years to train and equip Pakistans military and is considering sending 10,000 more troops to Afghanistan, according to media reports. Citing defence officials, the reports said the money would include $500 million in an additional war budget request for the coming year that will go to Congress this month. In outlining the spending programme publicly for the first time, defense officials told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it is critical to train and equip the Pakistanis so they have the skills and will to fight. The $3 billion for Pakistan would complement a plan for $7.5 billion in non-military aid. That civilian request would come in legislation sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Democrat John Kerry, and the committees top Republican, Richard Lugar of Indiana. With the administrations backing, their bill would provide $1.5 billion next year, linked to Pakistans counter-terror and democracy-building efforts, officials said. Defence and other administration officials spoke about the spending plans on condition of anonymity because the specific budget requests have not been released. Meanwhile, the United States has started a diplomatic effort to ease tensions between India and Pakistan in an effort to allow Islamabad to focus more on fighting Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants on its western border with Afghanistan. Democratic Senator Mark Udall from Colorado raised the issue at the Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, asking a panel of top US defence officials if Washington is urging India and Pakistan to continue finding a way forward on Kashmir, in spirit with allowing the Pakistani government to focus more on extremists on its Afghan border. Together with my great diplomatic wing man, (special representative to the region) Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, this effort actually has started, Commander, US Central Command Gen David Petraeus replied, saying simmering down tensions between the two South Asian neighbors would be of enormous importance. Petraeus cited in this respect several meetings the two of them had with Indian officials, beginning with their joint meeting with the Indian national security adviser in Munich. We had a very what we thought was a very good discussion. Also Wednesday, senators questioned General David Petraeus, who heads US Central Command, and Undersecretary Michele Flournoy over the possible deployment of 10,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Petraeus said he had forwarded the proposed increase to the Pentagon. That plan could mean stationing almost 80,000 American forces in the country by next year. Currently 38,000 US troops are in Afghanistan. Lawmakers asked why the extra brigade and headquarters unit requested by Gen David McKiernan, who oversees US forces in Afghanistan, had not yet been approved by President Barack Obama. I think it would be far, far better to announce that we will have the additional 10,000 troops dispatched, said Sen. John McCain, Obamas Republican opponent in last years election, who lost partly because of his strong support for the Iraq war effort. To dribble out these decisions, I think, can create the impression of incrementalism. Flournoy said Obama was aware of the request, but was told he does not have to consider it until late this year because the additional troops will not be needed until next year. Late in the year, she said McKiernan would have had time to reassess his troop needs. The spending plan, defence officials said, would give commanders greater leeway to spend money more quickly to meet the needs of the Pakistani military, such as night vision goggles and communications equipment. There have been complaints that Pakistans military is doing too little to take on the fight against extremists who use the ungoverned border as a staging area for attacks into Afghanistan. The will is growing, but the will is also helped enormously by a sense that we are going to be with them, Petraeus said. If they do not sense that, they will cut another deal. The spending plan would include counterinsurgency training so the Pakistanis can better attack Al-Qaeda havens in the border region. The Armed Services Committees Democratic chairman, Sen Carl Levin, said he disagreed with the administrations argument that progress in Afghanistan depends on success on the Pakistan side of the border. He said Afghanistans future should not be tied totally to the Pakistan governments decisions. He also was sceptical about Pakistans ability to secure its border.