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Pakistan not for unnecessary protest over India-US pact
Lahore: Pakistan could lodge a protest against the new India-US defence agreement if it has any "reservations" after studying the fine print, said Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri.

Kasuri said Pakistan would not raise "unnecessary protest" over the matter, reports Online news agency. If the defence pact destabilises the strategic balance in South Asia then Pakistan would raise the matter with US.

At a press briefing here Sunday, the foreign minister said Islamabad would not raise the issue like India had done when the US announced it was giving Pakistan F-16s and other defence equipment "because we are confident of our defence, which is impregnable".

"And as far as the matter of the India-US defence pact is concerned it is a matter between two sovereign nations," he said.

India and the US June 28 entered into a 10-year landmark defence agreement to facilitate joint weapons production, cooperation on missile defence and transfer of technology. The document was signed in Washington by US Defence Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Pakistan will never compromise on its defence capabilities, Kasuri said.

He said India and Pakistan were recognised nuclear powers of the region and a nuclear war would not be in favour of any nation.

If a new Missile Defence System comes into the region then Pakistan too will have to get a similar kind of equipment to boost its defence capabilities, he said, apparently referring to the prospects of India acquiring Patriot missile defence system from the US.

On a question about the India-Pakistan composite dialogue process, he said nobody could have even imagined a year and a half ago that Hurriyat leaders would visit Pakistan without any visa restrictions and Indian opposition leader L.K. Advani and Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar would visit Islamabad.

Hurriyat leaders from Indian Kashmir visited Pakistan-administered Kashmir on a fortnight-long visit June 2, while Aiyar visited the country June 4 for talks on import of natural gas from Iran through a 4.16 billion dollar pipeline.

This has only been possible because of the composite dialogue process, Kasuri said.


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Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:43 AM

 

 
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