US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he is confident that Pakistan will keep its nuclear arsenal out of the hands of militants, even as his administration asked Congress for millions of dollars to aid its army. Mr. Obama said he was gravely concerned'' about Pakistan's stability, describing its government as very fragile'' and potentially unable to deliver basic services like education, health care and a justice system. We need to help Pakistan help Pakistanis,'' Mr. Obama told reporters at a news conference marking his first 100 days in office. He added: We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don't end up having a nuclear-armed militant state.'' Mr. Obama said the Pakistani army was well aware of the risks posed by extremists and militant groups should they obtain nuclear weapons. He described a strong relationship between the U.S. and Pakistani militaries. I'm confident that we can make sure that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is secure,'' he said. Mr. Obama praised Pakistan's military for taking more seriously threats from extremists within its borders than continuing its focus on India, the nation's longtime rival. You're starting to see some recognition just in the last few days that the obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan has been misguided, and that their biggest threat right now comes internally,'' he said. We want to continue to encourage Pakistan to move in that direction,'' he said. And we will provide them all of the cooperation that we can.'' The president's comments came a few hours after top Pentagon and diplomatic officials asked Congress to spend part of a $400 million package on training and equipping the Pakistani army to fight insurgents within its borders. At an afternoon hearing on Capitol Hill, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said the effort marks the first time the Pentagon planned to direct anti-insurgency money toward training and outfitting of Pakistan's army. The U.S. already is aiding Pakistani special forces and frontier militias. The multimillion funding request would be spent only on Pakistan counterinsurgency missions, and would be the first part of a total estimated $3 billion package over five years to curb extremism in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region. Noting that tens of thousands of U.S. troops are already in Afghanistan, Flournoy said it is very important to see this in the context of the fact that this is an integrated theater, this border region.'' The administration also is close to finalizing plans to provide training for the Pakistani military at a location outside Pakistan. While the site has not been decided, a senior administration official said Wednesday that the issue would come up next week when Mr. Obama meets with Pakistani leaders. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue still was in discussion, said the expanded training comes in response to a request from Pakistan. Democrats and Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee questioned whether the money should be spent on an army that has long targeted India instead of insurgents. I do come from a part of the world where $400 million is still a lot of money,'' said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss. It seems to me that the Pakistani government considers India the primary threat, the Taliban not to be a threat.'' Rep. Mike Coffman noted that 80 percent of the Pakistani army is focused on its border with India. Has that changed?'' he asked. Vice Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., a top Pentagon strategy planner who also testified Wednesday, gave the example of Pakistani military chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, who has lost more people out west than he has against India _ and he knows it.'' He realizes it, and the entire government is beginning to realize it more and more, that this is the real immediate threat,'' Winnefeld said. Both Flournoy and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher described Pakistan's stability as important as neighboring Afghanistan's, where as many as 68,000 U.S. troops will be fighting a resurgent Taliban this year. With al-Qaida and Taliban extremists crossing the nations' shared border and hiding out in mountainous terrains, the officials warned that as Pakistan's security goes, so goes Afghanistan's.