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November 15, 2017

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India has set aside Rs55 bn against CPEC: Gen Zubair

India has set aside Rs55 bn against CPEC: Gen Zubair

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat here on Tuesday said India has set aside Rs55 billion against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the danger of a nuclear war is looming in the region.

He said enduring peace could be achieved in South Asia only through the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. He was speaking at an international conference on the topic of “Regional Dynamics and Strategic Concerns in South Asia” organised by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF).

He said the South Asian region was defined by the volatile nature of Pakistan-India relations. The resolution of the Kashmir issue was important to reduce any chances of strategic miscalculations, he noted.

Gen Zubair said in Asia, future prospects of global peace and prosperity would be determined, adding the United States and China had a central role to play in influencing the geo-strategic direction of the region.

He said global powers had an interest in the region due to their grand designs, adding the South Asian region had the lowest rank on the human development index. He pointed that collective narratives were being used to influence state behavior. “Afghanistan was important for regional connectivity and a gateway to Central Asia,” he added and said that instability in Afghanistan hampered the path to regional economic integration.

He said the reasons for instability in Afghanistan were violence, ethnic divisions, weak governance, warlordism and drug trafficking. Pakistan will remain friendly to Afghanistan, he said adding the conflict in Afghanistan affected Pakistan, which sought a just and enduring closure on the Afghanistan issue.

Talking about India, Gen Zubair said India was committing atrocities in held Kashmir and had a belligerent attitude towards Pakistan. India continued to suppress Kashmir’s indigenous freedom movement through use of brute force, human rights violations, rape and torture.

He said 7,700 Kashmiris had partially lost their eyesight because of the use of pellet guns. Only in the year 2017, India committed 1,200 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (Loc), the highest in the last 10 years, he said.

President IPRI Ambassador Abdul Basit said the primary objective of Pakistan’s foreign policy was to have peace in the region and beyond. “We cannot fully undertake our economic agenda without peace in the region,” he added.

He said Pakistan and Afghanistan should stop mutual recriminations and serious efforts should be made for moving forward the process of reconciliation. Abdul Basit said Pakistan wanted to have normal relations with its neighbours. “We want to hold dialogue with India on all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.”

As a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan was not interested in an arms race in the region, he stated. In his remarks, Charge d’affaires of German Embassy Dr Jens Jokisch said confrontation could be avoided through mutual engagement.

He said tensions could be resolved through constant dialogue, adding South Asian region needed confidence building measures and “we have to create a win-win situation for all”.

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