Strategic imbalance to rise due to Indo-US defence ties: Pak

Thursday, Jan 29, 2015,20:08 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Islamabad | Pakistan today voiced concern over increasing defence cooperation between India and the US saying it would only add to the conventional asymmetry and strategic instability in South Asia. Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Tasnim Aslam faced several questions related to the recent visit of President Barack Obama to India and its impact on Pakistan in light of renewal of the US-India 10-year defence agreement.
She said most of the issues about the visit of Obama had already been addressed by the advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz who in a statement expressed concern on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, and US backing for India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the UN Security Council. Aslam said that on conventional side, India’s massive acquisition of weapons further complicates the regional strategic stability as India’s defence spending had increased by 12 per cent in 2014-15 and stands at USD 38.35 billion.
India has been the top buyer of arms for the last three years. In this backdrop, the US-India 10-year defence agreement can only add to the conventional asymmetry and hence strategic instability, she said. Aslam said Pakistan has been proposing a three-pronged Strategic Restraint Regime consisting of conflict resolution, nuclear and missile restraint and conventional balance.
She said Pakistan firmly believed that confidence- building measures and arms reduction in the regional and sub-regional context were important. She reiterated Pakistan’s opposition to India joining UNSC as a permanent member. India is in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir and the right of people of Kashmir to self-determination. How does a country with such a record qualify to become a permanent member of UNSC, she said recalling Aziz’s statement. However, the spokesperson said that Indo-US trade agreements on expanding trade were their bilateral matter.