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India’s unbridled acquisition of arms threatening region’s peace, stability: Pakistan

Source : Press Trust of India (PTI)

India’s unbridled acquisition of arms threatening region’s peace, stability: Pakistan
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Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday said that India’s unbridled acquisition of arms was creating an imbalance in the region, threatening peace and stability. Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said this at the weekly briefing in response to a question about Indian Air Force deploying its first batch of S-400 Russian Missile Defence System in Adampur and Halwara Air Base in Punjab, some 90-100 Km close to Pakistani border.

It has been a long standing concern of Pakistan that the arms race, the imbalance that has been created and further exacerbated in our region because of India’s belligerence and unbridled acquisition of arms over the years, threatens regional peace and stability, the FO spokesperson said.

He said Pakistan had shared those concerns with friends, members of the international community, and had also raised these issues at the relevant forums in the United Nations.

“Almost over 70 per cent of the military capability that India has acquired is actually directed, deployed against Pakistan, so obviously we are very much concerned about all related developments, he said.

To a question about India’s response to proposed confidence building measures, he said the relationship with India at the moment was really vitiated and escalated because of India’s actions especially post August 5, 2019, and we haven’t seen any positive signs from across the border with regard to this desire to improve relations.

To another question about trade relations with India or any ongoing discussions to resume the suspended trade, he curtly said no.

The ties between India and Pakistan nosedived after the Indian government in August 2019 bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into Union territories and abrogated the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution which accorded special status to the erstwhile state.

India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy.

India has previously emphasised that matters related to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are entirely the internal affairs of India.

India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir was, is and shall forever remain an integral part of the country. India has said it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.

On Pakistan’s ties with the US, the foreign office spokesperson said the two countries were working to improve the bilateral ties after recent tension due to allegations by former premier Imran Khan that Washington was behind his downfall.

He said that there was greater realisation in both countries that this is an important relationship, which we have to build on the basis of trust, mutual interest and mutual benefit. We will continue to do that.

The spokesperson said that there was an understanding that whenever Pakistan and the US cooperate as they have cooperated in the past, it has been very beneficial for both countries and for the region.

He also announced that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would be undertaking a visit to Qatar next week, while Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is visiting four European countries – Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

These visits manifest continuing intense engagement and diplomacy by Pakistan, he said.

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