WASHINGTON - As Pakistani troops strike deeper into the Swat region to dislodge Taliban militants, the Pentagon is planning to step up and expand the training of Pakistan's military to improve their ability to confront extremists, according to a media report. And as part of American efforts to shift Pakistan's focus on India, two influential US senators on Foreign Relations Committee have underscored the need for New Delhi and Islamabad to reduce troops on the Kashmir border so that Pakistani forces could militants more effectively. Once the elections in India are over and completed, I believe the dynamics will shift so that there can be some redeployment on both sides. That will help the Pakistanis to begin to deal with this (extremist threat) themselves, Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the panel, said. Kerry, who has introduced a bill to expand US assistance for Pakistan to $ 1.5 billion annually for five years, was arguing against American military involvement on the Pakistani soil in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) Friday. Instead, he called for empowering the Pakistan to take actions itself against the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants operating on its Western border, adding that redeployment of troops by both India and Pakistan from their border and Kashmir will facilitate Islamabads greater focus on the Afghan border. "American footprint on the ground is counterproductive. Its not the way to proceed. We have to empower the Pakistanis, Kerry said when asked about U.S. being able to use fire power to take out militants on the Pakistani side of the border. They have a very good army, they have a strong army. Their army, however, is fundamentally trained to fight India. And too many of them are deployed on the Indian border, and Kashmir border. You have to change that, Kerry said in the context of reciprocal moves by both New Delhi and Islamabad. Meanwhile, Associated Press, citing a senior defence official, said U.S. officials are in early talks with Pakistani leaders to develop a programme that could increase the number of U.S. special operations trainers in Pakistan, with a goal to slash the training time by as much as half for more than 9,000 members of Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Corps. Training the 14 battalion-size units of the Frontier Corps is expected to take at least four years, but officials would like to both speed up their counterinsurgency training and expand the schooling to the Pakistani Army, said the official, who wasnot named. Among the issues yet to be resolved are how many U.S. trainers will be needed, and whether all the courses will be given at the single existing training camp or broadened to several more camps. Officials also have not settled on a timetable, because it will depend on how U.S. and Pakistan officials ultimately decide they want the new programme structured, how much funding is available, and what the security situation is in the border region. The US believes that escalating the training of Pakistan's Frontier Corps is critical as commanders struggle to beat back gains made by the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the region. Controlling the border, officials say, is key to stabilizing Pakistan and winning the war in Afghanistan. In addition, the Pentagon would like to further broaden the training to include the Pakistan Army. U.S. special operations forces have been training the Pakistani special forces for some time, and the programme was expanded to the Frontier Corps last October. On Thursday, Marine Commandant James Conway told members of Congress that it will be difficult to make real progress in Afghanistan if forces in Pakistan "aren't having parallel success." And in a blunt exchange with senators last week, Richard Holbrooke, the administration's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, said it is imperative that the U.S. help Pakistan beef up the training of its Frontier Corps, and enable them to move more troops into the western border region. He added that the Pakistanis do not have enough counterinsurgency training. "We think the Frontier Corps deserves much more attention," he said. There are 80 to 100 U.S. special operations forces and support staff now in Pakistan, including roughly 35 trainers. The ongoing discussions are looking at how the programme could be revamped and what number of additional trainers would be needed. Another critical aspect of the proposed changes is how to pay for them and that decision is now in the hands of Congress, where several members have expressed doubts about the programme. Pentagon officials have proposed spending $400 million in the next year to create a new Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund, which would be used to pay for the expanded training and any additional facilities, as well as helicopters and weapons ranging from night-vision goggles to high-tech communications equipment. The fund could total as much as $3 billion over five years.