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Pakistan's key concern is the strategic stability in South Asia: Sartaj Aziz

30 January, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister's Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz says US ignored Pakistan's concerns conveyed before President Obama's visit to India "Pakistan's key concern is the paramount importance of strategic stability in South Asia," Mr Aziz said at the seminar and called on the US and other members of the international community to support the objective of regional balance and strategic stability.

In a statement issued on Thursday 29,January,2015 in reaction to the India-US agreements, Mr Aziz had voiced concern about the adverse impact of the accords on the region's strategic stability and deterrence and pledged to take all measures to safeguard national interests.

"Pakistan is examining the imbalance and the possible ways and means for redressing it," Sartaj Aziz said while addressing a seminar on implications of President Obama's second visit to New Delhi organised by an Islamabad-based think tank — Strategic Vision Institute.

He said that India's military build-up through large-scale acquisition of arms from US and Russia; expansion of fissile material production facilities; and quest for advanced technology for missile and related delivery systems would accentuate the already existing conventional and nuclear imbalance in South Asia.

The worsening of the strategic imbalance at a time of the heightened Pak-India tensions, particularly due to Indian ceasefire violations along the LoC and Working Boundary, he said was extremely worrisome.

The US, he said, ignored concerns of the Pakistan government though Pakistan had "forcefully" conveyed to the US even before President Barack Obama's visit to India. The US was asked to "take a comprehensive view of strategic imbalance in South Asia and avoid any steps that may jeopardise the region's strategic stability".

Mr Aziz also sought to address some of the pessimism at home caused by the reinvigoration of India-US strategic partnership and tried to drive home the point that not all was lost.

The US support for India's candidature for UN Security Council permanent membership and export control regimes, he said, should not be implied as India's automatic entry into these privileged forums.

Secondly, he claimed, the Pak-US relationship was now based on stronger footing than before because of policy changes vis-à-vis terrorism and relations with Afghanistan undertaken by the government for protecting national interest, but ones that also suited to US requirements.

In Mr Aziz's assessment, the US wanted to assign India a special regional role in eastern part of Asia, but Pakistan was on the other side — the Western part of Asia. Therefore, he contended, the Pakistan's role in the region would remain unaffected.

"As one of a few stable and well-functioning states in the Muslim world, Pakistan's role in promoting stability and facilitating connectivity is … indispensable and well recognised not only by the US, but also by Russia and China," he claimed.

Speaking at the seminar, SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said the growing US-India partnership promoted their economic and strategic interests, but concurrently undermined Pakistan's national security and regional stability.

Nuclear expert retired Brig Naeem Salik said in his presentation that although Mr Obama's India visit was high on symbolism, it still had serious implications for the region.

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