ISLAMABAD: The US has been trying to convince Pakistan that India was not a threat to it and Islamabad should change its strategic stance towards New Delhi, Pakistan’s defence minister Khurram Dastagir Khan has said.
He also said that it is time for a courteous yet “ruthlessly candid dialogue” with the US “with everything on the table” to remove all misunderstandings between Islamabad and Washington.
Reading out a policy statement on the government’s foreign policy contours and the security situation in Pakistan in the National Assembly on Monday, he regretted that the US played down India’s aggressive posturing along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary, the Dawn reported on Tuesday.
The minister said the perception of India was one of the foundational divergences between Pakistan and the US.
“It’s time for a courteous yet ruthlessly candid dialogue between Pakistan and the US with everything on the table,” the defence minister said.
Khan said that Washington had been trying to convince Pakistan that India was not a threat and, therefore, Islamabad should change its strategic stance.
“But the truism remains true. Both India’s capacity and intents are today hostile towards Pakistan,” he alleged.
Pakistan accuses India of using Afghan soil for carrying out hostile activities against it, a charge India has dismissed.
Khan alleged that “India has amassed men, material and garrisons along the border with Pakistan” and said that 2017 was the deadliest year in terms of LoC violations by India and the killings of civilians.
“India today is a highly militarised and an increasingly belligerent neighbour,” he claimed, adding that the unrelentingly hostile and anti-Pakistan stance taken by the current Indian government has reduced drastically the space for any advocacy of peace.
The minister said Pakistan was being made a scapegoat as the US was not winning (the war on terror) in Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan had cleared the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Karachi and Balochistan under the Operation ‘Zarb-i-Azb’ and there were no safe havens for terrorists in the country.
He urged the US to recognise the sacrifices Pakistan and its people had made in the war on terror since 2001.
He also criticised the US for not pursuing internal reconciliation in Afghanistan, which had now become a safe haven for terrorists.