SINGAPORE (Reuters) - US Defence Secretary Robert Gates on Saturday praised Pakistans current offensive against militants, calling the Taliban resurgence an 'existential threat to the country. I think the fact that they have taken the kind of action, with the size of forces they have in the western part of the country, demonstrates that they understand that there is a more immediate threat to the country, he said while speaking in Singapore. He said the United States would provide military aid and training to Pakistan to combat the militants, but his comments suggested the US had no appetite for directly sending in ground troops. We are very sensitive to Pakistans sovereignty and eager to be helpful, but only as the Pakistanis want us to be helpful. Online adds: As Pakistani military intensified operations against the Taliban in Swat Valley and adjoining areas, a top US General has said that it is going to be 'a tough fight for the country whose 'very existence is threatened by the militants. Well, clearly, theres going to be a tough fight. But clearly, as well, the Pakistani military has taken on this fight, Gen David Petraeus, Commander of the US Central Command, told Fox News channel. He was responding to a question about the success of current military operation against the Taliban in the Swat Valley and adjoining areas of Pakistan. They (Pakistani Army) are doing it because of the threat that the Taliban pose to them and to their country, not because of American interests. The people have come to recognise the Taliban for their repressive practices, Petraeus said. The Pakistani Army is fighting the militants 'because the Taliban have come to represent a threat to the very existence of their State. In fact, Petraeus said: They very much want to be seen as not fighting our war. Theyll take certain assistance, but by no means anything that directly affects the combat operations. There is a fierce pride in their own ability. And a good bit of that is justified. Petraeus said the Pakistani Army currently seems to be determined on their own to carry out this fight against the Taliban. And we see every reason to expect that they are going to continue to do that, he said. Weve provided some other logistical supplies and other assistance. Weve provided economic assistance, he said. Defining victory in Afghanistan, the top US military official said: It will be a country in which there is a govt that can deal with its own problems, that has security forces who can shoulder the burden of securing their country internally and from external threats, a government that is supported by its people because it serves them properly. However, it is going to take time, and it is going to take a substantial sustained commitment, without question, he observed.