ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday underscored the urgency of settling Pak-India disputes, particularly Kashmir, through dialogue and reminded the international community of the need to play a positive and responsible role in the precarious South Asian security environment.
The foreign minister was speaking at the inaugural session of a conference titled ‘Strategic Stability in South Asia: Emerging Challenges’, which had been organized by Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS). The Conference was held to deliberate on the regional strategic environment in view of the factors straining deterrence stability. The conference was widely attended by representatives of diplomatic corps, academia, and think tank community.
The foreign minister noted the impact of the policies of major international players on the regional environment and called for recognizing “the need for objective and even-handed approach which is not tainted by considerations of geo-political dominance and defining new regional security paradigms”.
He, therefore, asked the international community to desist from aggravating the already fragile situation in South Asia through arms supplies and designation of states as “net security providers” for the attainment of their geo-political interests. In this regard, he specifically pointed out that massive acquisition of conventional arms; adoption of offensive doctrines; expansion of strategic assets inventory; introduction of Anti-Ballistic Missile systems like S-400; Nuclear Supplier Group’s exemption and recent Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test, were affecting regional stability.
“The recent belligerence displayed against Pakistan and the assumption that Pakistan could be subject to punitive strikes, at will, is a clear manifestation of threats to stability in the region,” Mr Qureshi emphasized and added that stability in South Asia could only be guaranteed through resolution of conflicts. Kashmir, the longstanding dispute, he said, was “at the heart of every crisis between Pakistan and India” including the latest stand-off.
On the contrary, the foreign minister maintained, that Pakistan has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to peaceful and normal relations with India. The inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor, he said, was a manifestation of Pakistan’s desire for better ties with India. Talking about Indian action of postponing the April 2 round of negotiations on Kartarpur Corridor Agreement, he said, Indians need to understand that the way forward lies in dialogue and not in its suspension.
Mr Qureshi, however, cautioned that while Pakistan was desirous of peace, it was “equally determined to frustrate any attempt to create a so-called new normal”.—NNI