India threatens strategic stability in South Asia: Pak prez

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Islamabad: Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Monday said that the strategic stability in South Asia is being threatened by the offensive posture and induction of lethal weapons by India.

Alvi said that nobody should doubt Pakistan’s capability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty, Radio Pakistan reported.

“Discriminatory exemptions by certain countries for the supply of nuclear technology and supply of advanced military hardware to our neighbour has further complicated the regional security and undermined the credibility of non-proliferation regime,” the report said.

The comments of the President, who is one of the founding members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, came while addressing an international conference on ‘Global Non Proliferation Regime: Challenges and Response’ by the Strategic Studies Institute here.

Pakistan is committed to maintain strategic stability in the region and will continue to demonstrate restraint and responsibility, he said.

Alvi urged the international community to take notice of talk of “surgical strikes” and “limited war”, saying such a posture just tends to only up the ante.

Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashker-e-Taiba was severely hit in the cross-LoC surgical strikes on terror launch pads carried out by the Indian Army with assessment reports of radio intercepts indicating that around 20 of its militants were killed.

Alvi, without naming India, said that the proponents of such (surgical strikes and limited war) fantasies will bear the responsibility of any consequences.

He hoped that good sense will prevail and that both Pakistan and India agree on the framework for strategic stability.

The President, however regretted that “our postures for peace have been reciprocated with belligerence”.

He said Pakistan has relentlessly pursued the objective of keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons despite the fact that in 1974, detonation had taken place in the region.

“Our proposals for nuclear nonproliferation are well documented,” Alvi claimed.

He said the nuclear tests by India in 1998 ended any prospects for nuclear free zone in South Asia.

“We were forced to respond to the nuclear tests to maintain the strategic balance in the region,” he said.

Alvi said that Pakistan has not given up the pursuit of meaningful engagement with India for confidence building measures, avoidance of arms race and risk reduction.

He said both the countries need to save on arms and spend on the welfare of the poor people.

Pakistan’s proposal for a strategic restraint regime encompassing conflict resolution and maintaining conventional balance can provide a good basis for regional peace and security, the President said.

He pointed out that the orientation of Pakistan’s nuclear programme is civilian.

“We have a complete programme to hardness peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” he claimed.

Alvi said Pakistan which has applied for the membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has a strong case keeping in view its efforts and contributions to non-proliferation.

He also called for the resolution of lingering disputes including that of Jammu and Kashmir for the world peace at large, the report said.

He warned that new threats are also emerging including hostile uses of outer space, offensive cyber capability and development of lethal autonomous weapon systems such as drones.