* Gilani shows concern over increase in New Delhi’s military budget
(NSI News Source Info) BRUSSELS, Belgium - June 6, 2010: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, while pointing towards the Pakistan-specific Indian military doctrines such as the Cold Start, has urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) to take active interest in South Asian security perspective.
“We remain concerned over Pakistan-specific Indian military doctrines such as the Cold Start envisaging a limited conventional war under the nuclear overhang, huge increase in Indian military budget and massive weapon acquisitions,” he said.
“These together with discriminatory policies especially in the nuclear and technological arena have accentuated the regional imbalance in South Asia,” he said while addressing the North Atlantic Council (NAC) here on Friday. Gilani said it was a nuclearised region and issues of peace, strategic stability and security pose formidable challenges to Pakistan and impinge on global peace and security.
He said Pakistan-India relations had a significant bearing on South Asian security, adding, unfortunately, outstanding disputes such as Kashmir, Siachen, and Sir Creek continue to fester and require a just and peaceful resolution.
“Our region is also water stressed. As a lower riparian, these water issues have started to impact Pakistan’s agriculture and the wellbeing of our people,” he added. Prime Minister Gilani said issues of peace and security, in particular, strategic stability needed to be addressed in a forthright manner.
Gilani said Pakistan believed that all these and other issues between Pakistan and India must be resolved peacefully through dialogue. Prime Minister Gilani said regrettably since the past two years, the composite dialogue process was stalled, adding the ostensible reason given by India was the Mumbai terror attack.
He, however, pointed out that Pakistan acted swiftly to get the suspects arrested. “We have done our utmost to bring the perpetrators to justice. We have indicated to India that only serious, sustained and pragmatic cooperation is the sure way of addressing each others concerns on terrorism.”
Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan had suggested that the Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism be reactivated, adding: “We desire good neighbourly and cooperative relations with India”. He said Pakistan and India had no option, but to resolve peacefully all outstanding disputes including Kashmir, Siachen and water.
“We must also work closely on eliminating terrorism and forging closer economic and trade relations,” he added. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani while vowing not to allow any space to terrorists in Pakistan said the country had done and accomplished more in Afghanistan than the international forces. He focused on Pakistan relations with Nato, Afghanistan and India and said it knew fully well how to plan its strategy to cope with all challenges it was confronting. “We know better than most outsiders how best to prosecute our counter-terror efforts,” he said and added Pakistan had not only proven its ability to do so but also managed the internally dislocated people by terrorism in a short span of time.
“We would never allow terrorism and violent extremism to overtake our way of life, our culture, our traditions and disrupt our societal harmony,” he said. The prime minister said Pakistan had utilised its own national capacity to effectively deal with militancy and terror imposed from across the border from Afghanistan.
He said the turbulence in Pakistan’s adjoining regions had continued to have a serious detrimental effect on realising the full development potential.
The Pakistani nation, Gilani said, was fully united in eliminating the menace of terrorism and mentioned that his government had given political ownership to the counterterrorism campaign that was being brilliantly executed by the Pakistan Armed Forces and the security agencies.
“It is our national resolve not to allow terrorists any space on our territory. Equally, we will not permit the use of territory of our neighbours for sponsoring, supporting or abetting acts of terror against Pakistan.”
Gilani said Pakistan had done more and accomplished more than the international forces in adjoining Afghanistan. “All this has been at a considerable cost. Over 30,000 casualties, $50 billion worth of losses in property and infrastructure and thousands of disabilities. The economic costs are astounding. Yet we will press ahead and will not relent.”
Gilani said he was here at the Nato headquarters to seek understanding, and neither acknowledgement nor gratitude. “Pakistan has done its utmost. We will continue to do what is right and just. We do it for our own sake.”
He said Pakistan was happy to partner with Nato on the anti-terrorism front. “We only want you to understand that we are fully capable of determining how best to proceed in the prevailing environment given our national capacities,” he stressed.
“Pakistan and Nato share a common objective of making the regional and global pace possible and the close practical cooperation between the Nato and Pakistan, which we have been able to foster in recent years, is crucial for achieving the cherished goal,” said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at a joint press conference with Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen here at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
“We agreed that Pakistan and Nato will jointly cooperate to defeat terrorism,” said Nato Secretary General Rasmussen. In a reply to a question, the Nato secretary general said the organisation would consider the option, if Pakistan requested for the training of its civil law enforcement agencies. “We have already military to military cooperation and agree that the cooperation should expand,” he added.
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