ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua on Tuesday said Pakistan would continue with its efforts for peace in its neighbourhood despite New Delhi’s negative attitude and called upon world powers to support Islamabad’s posture in this regard.
Speaking at a conference on “Conflict and Cooperation in South Asia: Role of Major Powers” hosted by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), the foreign secretary said: “We are convinced that we will continue to try for peace and stability in the region.”
Referring to India’s approach on ties with Pakistan, Ms Janjua said New Delhi was “spinning hatred” and perpetuating “dynamic rivalry”. This, she maintained, was not only unhelpful for improving Pakistan-India ties, but was also stopping South Asia from making progress and attaining peace.
Foreign secretary says India holding Saarc summit process hostage
The foreign secretary recalled that India, by refusing to attend Saarc summit in Islamabad, was holding the regional body’s summit process hostage.
She regretted that India tried to drown in controversy Pakistan’s gesture of agreeing to ‘Kartarpur Corridor’, for facilitating Sikh pilgrimage to one of their holiest sites, due to its domestic politics, but Islamabad ignored the Indian negativity and decided to “stay the course”.
About the new government’s policy on India, Ms Janjua spoke of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first nationwide address after elections in which he had offered to take two steps for every single step that India would take for normalisation of ties with Pakistan. She said PM Khan in his letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi later expressed willingness to discuss all issues that were part of the ‘Composite Dialogue’.
“Unfortunately we haven’t seen the kind of reciprocation that was required,” she maintained.
The foreign secretary also criticised New Delhi for “spending massively on force modernisation” and questioned the support being extended to it by the world powers in its acquisition of weapons.
“Recently held India-US 2+2 dialogue provides India access to advanced and sensitive US military hardware, technology and weaponry,” she said and also took a rare jab at Moscow for signing a deal for provision of advanced S-400 air defence system to India. “This would undermine the delicate strategic balance in the region and beyond,” she said.
Reiterating Pakistan’s position on Indian arms build-up, she said: “Pakistan is concerned that such an arms race will be detrimental to peace and stability of the region. Pakistan doesn’t subscribe to any nuclear or conventional arms race in the region.” Ms Janjua said Pakistan would continue to pursue its policy of “credible minimum deterrence” to maintain strategic stability and cater for its interests.
Contending that Pakistan’s foreign policy has been successful, the foreign secretary said it was proven by the successful counterterrorism operations, the progress achieved by the CPEC and the emerging consensus on seeking a peaceful resolution of the Afghan conflict.
“Our view point on Afghanistan on the futility of kinetic approaches and merit of pursuing Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process is finding greater traction today than ever before,” she underscored.
Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2018