Pakistan

Pakistan expresses concern on ‘steep rise’ in India’s defence budget

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Friday expressed its concerns over India’s steep rise in defence budget and its massive arms buildup through acquisition of modern weaponry.

A spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that growing conventional asymmetry undermines regional stability and also negatively impacts the balance of strategic deterrence. He also said that Pakistan remains fully cognizant of evolving security dynamics in South Asia and, while adhering to the policy of avoiding an arms race, will take all measures to safeguard its national security.

He said that India’s allegations regarding presence of Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan are baseless and unfounded and they do not require any response.  He also said that an Indian Minister had recently said that whereabouts of Dawood Ibrahim were not known to them.

The spokesperson stated that Pakistan has a principled position on Syria based on neutrality, impartiality and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria. He added that Pakistan believe that Syrian government and opposition groups should exercise restraint and settle their differences peacefully.

“Pakistan supports all efforts employed at facilitating a peaceful Syrian-led and inclusive solution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people through a comprehensive political dialogue”, he said.

FO spokesperson added that Pakistan has never accepted any pressure from anywhere on its nuclear programme. He added that Pakistan is a responsible Nuclear Weapon State and we have every right to take all possible measures for our defence.

The foreign office spokesperson, commenting on the bilateral ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, said that the two nations are brotherly countries and enjoy friendly and cooperative relations and they also have close cooperation in many fields including defence and security.

He also said that the joint military exercises focused on joint anti-terrorism training of the special forces of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and was aimed at affording an opportunity to explore new avenues of cooperation to fight terrorism and enhance skills.

“Pakistan is deeply concerned at the increasing threats to regional peace and stability in the Middle East. We believe that there is a dire need to ensure that the region does not get further destabilized by terrorist groups. Pakistan-Saudi Arabia cooperation in counter-terrorism is important in this context”, he added.

FO spokesperson said that Pakistan and Russia enjoy friendly relations and cooperate in many fields.

“Pakistan want to enhance relations with Russia in all fields of mutual interest. Recently, the two countries signed an agreement for a gas pipeline from North to South. Russia would be investing US$ 2 billion for  the construction of this pipeline. There have been a number of visits from Pakistan to Russia in the past at the Head of State and Government level. We would, therefore, welcome the visit of the Russian President to Pakistan. Ground-breaking ceremony of the gas pipeline would be a good occasion for the visit”, he said.

He said that the country has taken action against all terrorist groups under operation Zarb-e-Azab and measures have been taken against extremists and terrorists under the National Action Plan as well.

He added that international community appreciates efforts made by Pakistan to eliminate terrorists. Pakistan has said that there are no good or bad terrorists.

FO spokesperson said that Pakistan is ensuring that its territory will not be used against Afghanistan and expects that Afghanistan’s territory will also not be used against Pakistan. We expect the Government of Afghanistan to make sure that its territory is not used to stage attacks against Pakistan.

“A number of countries and the UN have offered assistance in the wake of 26 October earthquake. We are grateful for this expression of support and solidarity. The Government is responding effectively to the situation, through its own resources. I am not aware if any decision has been taken to accept international assistance. You may wish to contact National Disaster Managament Authority (NDMA) in this regard”, he said while answering a question regarding foreign aid for the victims of the earthquake.

The Prime Minister of India had called our Prime Minister and offered condolences as well as assistance. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thanked the Indian Prime Minister for his offer”, he added.

“Good gestures have been made in the past by both sides. However, this does not diminish the need to resolve outstanding disputes and issues including Kashmir through a “sustained and resilient dialogue process between the two neighbors”, he said.

He urged the international community to take notice of the terrorist activities of Shiv Sena and he said that Pakistan has repeatedly expressed its concern on its activities.

Foreign Office spokesman said that as part of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s vision of a peaceful neighborhood, Pakistan wants to enhance bilateral relations with Iran.

“We have said that removal of sanctions on Iran would offer opportunities for greater economic interaction between the two countries. What the Prime Minister has said about the two ports is very important. We want these two ports to complement each other, not compete”, he added.

He added that Pakistan’s stand on Islamic State (also known as Daesh) is clear. He also said that Pakistan opposes terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

“There is no footprint of Daesh in Pakistan. Our Armed Forces and security agencies have said that even a shadow of Daesh will not be tolerated in Pakistan. They will take appropriate action in this regard, if required”, he said.

“Terrorism is our common enemy.  Cooperative approach is required to deal with the menace. We support coordinated action by concerned countries in their own territory to deal with terrorism. We have extended this kind of cooperation to Afghanistan. We are cognizant of the threat posed by Daesh and have alerted our security agencies accordingly”, he said.

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