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August 3, 2018

Modi’s call to Imran welcoming: FO

Top Story

August 3, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office (FO) spokesman said on Thursday that Pakistan welcomed Prime Minister Modi’s phone call to Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan, calling it a “positive conversation”.

“We hope that in the coming days both sides can come together to address key concerns in what is admittedly a difficult relationship. We also hope that this positive conversation can lead to the resumption of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue and holding of Saarc Summit in Pakistan”, he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan expressed concern and said that there would be serious implications on strategic stability, arising from the decision of the Trump administration to grant India, Strategic Trade Organization Status (STA-1), under export control regime.

This could lead to undermining the regional strategic balance which is detrimental to regional peace and security and Pakistan called on all states to carefully review their strategic export control policies that directly impinge on national security of Pakistan and undercut stated goals of preserving strategic stability in the region.

“There will be serious implications on strategic stability arising from the cumulative effect of several civilian nuclear cooperation agreements between India and members of export control regimes, the latest of which is the recent licensing waivers”, spokesman at the Foreign Office commented at the weekly media briefing.

This US decision is being seen as a “disturbing continuation of policies of discrimination and exceptionalism, further eroding the longstanding non-proliferation norms”. With a new government in Pakistan just days away, the Foreign Office alerted world capitals that such supply of technologies and advanced weaponry is contrary to the non-proliferation intent of such controls.

“Pakistan believes in free access to dual use of technologies for socioeconomic development and peaceful uses without discrimination. This is not the first time that controls over transfers of sensitive goods are being relaxed for political considerations “, he added.

Disavowal of established legal and normative frameworks, regulating strategic goods and technologies, only undermines the global rules-based order. When The News asked to comment on this latest move by the Trump administration, PTI’s Dr Shireen Mazari, a defense expert commented, “This is an unfortunate plan to destabilise the region and provoke and buildup an arms race. It is certainly unfortunate that an attempt is being made by a super power to undermine a strategic stability that took long time to build”.

As the US and Afghan Taliban both confirm their meeting in Qatar recently the spokesman to a query said that he could only reiterate Pakistan’s position which is, “The only solution to the Afghan conflict lies in a politically negotiated settlement led by an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. A military based approach has failed to render the desired results in the past seventeen years. We would therefore urge the parties concerned to give dialogue and diplomacy a fair chance”.

While the US National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), passed by Congress this week, did not link future payments of security-related assistance to Pakistan to the country’s counterterrorism efforts, the spokesman responded that,” It was not aid but reimbursements to be made to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund, which have been discontinued. Our position is very clear that mutual problems can only be addressed through mutual consultations and deeper engagement”.

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