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Pak accuses world powers of helping India's nuke plans

By Rezaul H Laskar
December 10, 2009 23:15 IST
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Pakistan on Thursday accused some world powers of enabling India to pursue its nuclear programme to the detriment of regional peace and stability and said it would take all possible steps to protect its security interests.

World powers have a significant responsibility in ensuring peace in the region but some of them had "contributed negatively in enabling India to pursue its ambitious nuclear programme more rapidly to the detriment of peace and stability in South Asia," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said.

Though Basit did not name the world powers concerned, he was apparently referring to the civil nuclear deal concluded with India by the United States. Pakistan has for long insisted that it should be given a similar deal by Western powers.

Pakistan will take "every legitimate step to protect its security interests" and will not "compromise on maintaining a credible minimum nuclear deterrent", Basit told a weekly news briefing.

He was responding to a question on the possible implications of defence and nuclear deals concluded during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Russia. Basit said Pakistan has a "legitimate interest in ensuring that the strategic balance in South Asia is maintained under all circumstances".

"This is all the more necessary due to jingoistic statements from New Delhi about waging limited wars based on the dangerously naive cold start strategy," he claimed.

Pakistan had recently protested Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor's comments that a limited war under a nuclear overhang was a possibility.

Replying to another question, Basit placed the onus for the resumption of the composite dialogue process, stalled since last year's Mumbai terror attacks, on India.

Acknowledging that there has been no progress in the dialogue in the recent past, he said Pakistan wanted "meaningful and result-oriented" parleys with India.

"The ball is in India's court," he said. Bait added that "there is no back channel diplomacy" going on between India and Pakistan.

Asked about conflicting statements by Pakistani leaders about India's alleged involvement in fomenting unrest in Balochistan province, Basit said Islamabad did not believe in "blame games or point securing" and had no intention of dealing with such an issue through the media.

The alleged evidence of India's involvement would be produced by Pakistan at the "appropriate forum in the best interests of the country", he added.

Though Pakistani leaders like Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik have been saying that the government has evidence of India's alleged involvement in Balochistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday said the information was 'insufficient' and more material is needed to 'plausibly argue' Pakistan's case.

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Rezaul H Laskar In Islamabad
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