ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said major international players have a responsibility towards ensuring strategic stability in the South Asian region.
Addressing a National Conference on Strategic Stability in South Asia, in Islamabad on Wednesday, he said Pakistan expects the outside players to be mindful of their responsibility in terms of arms supplies to the region. He hoped the key players would recognize the need for objective and even handed approach which is not tainted by considerations of geo political dominance and defining new regional security paradigms.
The Foreign Minister said Pakistan is opposed to conventional and nuclear arms race in the region. He, however, said India’s massive acquisition of conventional arms coupled with its offensive doctrine such as cold start and expansion of strategic assets including nuclear submarines are developments with serious security implications for Pakistan. He said the country specific exemption by the Nuclear Supplier Group has had negative implications for strategic stability in our region.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the recent belligerence displayed against Pakistan and the assumption that the country could be subject to punitive strikes at will is a clear manifestation of threats to stability in the region.
He said as a peace loving country, Pakistan is committed to peaceful and normal relations in its neighborhood. He, however, made it absolutely clear that Pakistan is capable to frustrate any misadventure.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Pakistan has shown it is prepared to take concrete steps to ease tension and work for friendly relations with India with Kartarpur corridor like initiatives. He said our neighbor also need to understand that the only way forward is dialogue.
Reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to build a prosperous and peaceful region, the foreign minister said that conflict resolution is the key to strategic stability in the region.
He pointed out the abiding threat to peace and stability emanates from Kashmir dispute which remains unresolved for about half a century.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the Indian denial to the Kashmir right of self-determination and its blatant human rights violations have led to frustration amongst the Kashmiri youth. He said this is the reason that the freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir has gained momentum and caught world attention. He said what we are witnessing in Kashmir is the backlash of Indian atrocities inflicted on Kashmiris.
He said the resolution of this outstanding dispute lies only in dialogue.
The Foreign Minister said our conduct as a nuclear weapon state will continue to be defined by restraint and responsibility. He said Pakistan will maintain credible minimum deterrence to ensure its national security.