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National

REUTERS
May 20, 2016
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Pakistan not oblivious to its defence needs: Sartaj

Pakistan not oblivious to its defence needs: Sartaj

ISLAMABAD: Expressing serious concerns over India’s recent test of anti-ballistic missiles, which media reports say could intercept incoming nuclear weapons, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Thursday that Pakistan is not oblivious to its defence needs and will augment it further.

Speaking during a session of the Senate – the upper house of the Parliament – here today, the adviser said Pakistan will also push the United Nations to declare the Indian Ocean as a ‘nuclear free zone.’

“There is a proposal to move a resolution in the next session of the General Assembly in September this year to declare Indian Ocean as Nuclear Free Zone,” he said.

Pakistan will approach all the 32 littoral states to co-sponsor this resolution. Pakistan will also be taking up this issue with all major powers bilaterally and multilaterally, he added.

According to media reports, on May 15 India tested a locally designed Anti-Ballistic Missile system which could in theory intercept a nuclear-carrying ballistic missile.

The row over the missile test is likely to heighten long-running tension between India and Pakistan. Both nations have been developing missiles of varying ranges since they conducted nuclear tests in May 1998.

Islamabad views its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent against India’s much larger conventional military.

Sartaj Aziz told the senate that India´s latest test, as well as recent tests of nuclear capable submarine-based ballistic missiles, was “leading to nuclearization” of the Indian Ocean.

“Pakistan has serious concerns over these developments and will take all necessary measures to augment its defence capabilities,” Aziz said.

Aziz said that India’s actions were upsetting the strategic balance in South Asia and affecting the maritime security of other Indian Ocean nations.

“We are not oblivious to our defence needs and will have to upgrade our defensive capabilities through suitable technologies without entering into an arms race,” Aziz said, according to a foreign ministry statement.

Indian officials have in the past also voiced concerns about Pakistan’s various missile tests– Reuters/Geo

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