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US President telephones PM Nawaz to discuss India visit

ISLAMABAD: US President Barack Obama Thursday telephoned Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to brief him on his visit to India last month and discuss regional issues, Pakistani officials said.

Obama was last month honoured as chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade at the invitation of premier Narendra Modi, amid warming ties between the US and India, Pakistan’s bitter rival.

“He (President Obama) updated the PM about his India visit. Obama said the US is appreciative of Pakistan’s growing positive relations with Afghanistan,” a statement from the Sharif’s office said.

“Obama appreciated Pakistan for successfully launching Operation Zarb-e-Azb (a military offensive against militants in the tribal region of North Waziristan),” the statement added.

The Prime Minister’s office said Sharif told Obama during the half-hour long call that Pakistan was against India’s candidature for UN Security Council membership.

“PM said India doesn’t deserve a permanent seat on the UN Security Council as the country has been violating UN resolutions on Kashmir,” it said.

On Obama’s New Delhi visit in January, the US and India reached a new nuclear deal that would give India access to civilian nuclear technology, breaking a deadlock that has stalled an agreement for years.

Pakistan opposed the deal, saying it was detrimental to stability in the South Asia region.

“PM expressed Pakistan’s desire to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (a multinational group that seeks to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons) Sharif’s office said of the call.

India and Pakistan are both nuclear-armed in addition to operating civilian atomic plants.

They have fought two wars over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which both countries administer in part but claim in full.

Recent exchanges of fire across the de facto border, known as the Line of Control (LoC) have killed more than two dozen civilians and forced thousands to flee their homes on both sides- AFP

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