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February 14, 2020

Air defence system sale to India: US move to further destabilise region, says FO

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February 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Thursday warned the international community that the sale of US air defence system to India would further destabilise the already volatile South Asia. “The US decision would disturb strategic balance in South Asia with serious security implications for Pakistan and the region. These growing defence ties, including purchase of arms, between India and the United States would contribute towards further destabilisation of peace and security in the region,” said the Foreign Office spokesperson Ayesha Farooqui during the weekly press briefing here.

Farooqui pointed out that Pakistan had seen the advance notice issued by US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, notifying the State Department’s approval of military sale to India of the Integrated Air Defence Weapon System (IADWS).

Turning to world capitals, the spokesperson warned, “The international community was fully aware of India’s aggressive policy designs against Pakistan and threatening statements of its political and military leaders. South Asia cannot afford an arms race and conflict. It is therefore incumbent upon the international community to prevent further destabilization of the region”.

As has been the pattern whenever a dignitary visits Pakistan, India uses the operation to heat up the Line of Control, including creating a false flag operation.

“We are concerned about the possibility of India seeking to create some distraction during forthcoming high-profile visits to the region, i.e. President Erdogan and UNSG Secretary General to Pakistan and President Trump to India,” she said.

Farooqui said this was especially true with the consistent pattern of the BJP government resorting to some provocation or distraction around important international events.

“For a long time, we have also been warning the international community about the possibility of some false flag operation by India,” she said.

The spokesperson explained that such provocations were obviously designed to divert global attention from India’s state-terrorism in IOJ&K as well as from Pakistan’s ongoing successful efforts in the counter-terrorism arena and with respect to fulfillment of our obligations under the FATF regime.

“The RSS-inspired BJP government’s tactics have become all too predictable and are being called out and shamed even inside India,” said the spokesperson.

While the credibility of such unfortunate Indian moves is already too low by now, India still takes an inherent risk of further inflaming the bilateral environment and potentially leading to unforeseeable consequences.

“While calling upon the international community to beware of any such irresponsible and ill-considered step by the current Indian regime, Pakistan maintains an unwavering resolve to: (a) respond most effectively and immediately to any Indian provocation; and (b) continue our march on the path to national development and regional peace and stability,” asserted the spokesperson.

The spokesperson said President Donald Trump was visiting India later this month at a time when the lockdown in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) had entered its 193rd day. She reminded President Trump of his offers of mediation on the Kashmir issue.

“We hope to see those offers being translated into practical actions. We hope that the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir will be raised during President Trump’s visit to India. Non-resolution of this dispute is one of the most destabilizing factors for peace and security in the region,” she remarked.

Pakistan says it is also concerned that to take attention off from Kashmir, India could create distraction during three important visits of President Erdogan, Secretary General UNSG to Pakistan and President Trump to India.

The Indian government has turned the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir into the world’s largest open prison and remains the most heavily militarized zone in the world, she reminded.

“As Pakistan prepares for the forthcoming FATF meeting in Beijing, which would decide its fate whether it would move off the grey list, its efforts/measures have been widely acknowledged. We are certainly hopeful and working closely with our partners in the international community in this regard”, she responded.

The spokesperson was also asked about the former TTP spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan who according to a video had admitted that he had escaped to Turkey. To a query whether the visiting Turkish president would be approached on the matter, she responded, “This matter pertains to the Ministry of Interior, I would like to refer you to them”.