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India is not a threat to Pakistan, says Zardari

May 10, 2009 15:15 IST

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said that India is not a threat to Pakistan and it is facing danger from the terrorists inside the country.

"Well, I am already on record. I have never considered India a threat," Zardari said in an interview to a TV channel.

This is the first time a top Pakistani leader has publicly said that India is not a threat to his country; a fact which the Barack Obama administration has been trying to convince Zardari and the Pakistan army for quite some time now.

"I have always considered India as a neighbour, which we want to improve our relationship with. We have had some cold times and we have had some hard times with them. We have gone to war thrice, but democracies are always trying to improve relationships," Zardari said.

Last month, at a White House press conference held on the occasion of completing 100 days in office, Obama had said that Pakistan's perception about India being a 'threat' was 'misguided'.

It is believed that both Obama and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in their meetings with Zardari this week, impressed upon him that Pakistan should no longer consider India as a primary threat and rather concentrate its energies on fighting terrorism inside the country. However, there has been no official word from the Obama administration in this regard.

While responding to the question about moving troops from Indian border to the tribal areas of Pakistan to fight the war against terrorism, Zardari said, "Pakistan has already done so."

In an interview to CNN on Friday, Zardari had said Pakistan has already moved troops from the Indian border and would do more based on the requirement.

"The fact is that we have moved more troops today and yesterday and the day before. We moved them according to the requirement," he said.

"We already have 125,000 personnel there. So when we need to replace them, we need to improve upon their strength, we do that," Zardari said in response to a question.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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