India biggest threat to Pakistan: Aziz

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Washington: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Special Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that menace of terrorism is not biggest threat to Pakistan’s security but India’s increasing strategic and conventional imbalance in the South Asian region is real challenge.

Addressing at a ceremony in Washington, Sartaj Aziz went on to say that terrorism was an internal matter of Pakistan and it would be soon resolved. Terrorism was a shared threat to Pakistan and Afghanistan and the two countries were taking steps to eradicate it, he further added.

He said that Pakistan has strongly rejected the American demand to cut short the nuclear stockpile of Pakistan as it considers India a serious threat.

Aziz said the Pathankot terror attack disrupted the FS-level talks, which he said were crucial to prepare the ground to deal with more difficult issues. 

Pakistan is “anxiously waiting” for the “disrupted” Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks to resume, he said while appealing to India not to give non-state actors “a veto” over bilateral ties. 

“As our policy of peaceful neighbourhood, we have reached out to India. We are anxiously waiting for the dialogue to be resumed. The Pathankot incident disrupted the process of the two foreign secretaries’ meetings,” Aziz said. 

“Once we begin the dialogue, I am sure we would be able to deal with some issues even if we are not able to solve all the issues at dispute. Our main purpose is that Line of Control should be peaceful, normal relationship should start, sporting should resume so that tension decreases. That prepares the ground for dealing with more difficult issues,” Aziz said. 

He said a Special Investigative Team (SIT) is scheduled to visit India to investigate the Pathankot terrorist attack and collect samples and evidences. 

But the progress on the investigation depends on the co-operation from India, he said in response to a question at the Council on Foreign Relations – a top US think-tank. 

He said that his government’s policy direction with regard to fight against terrorism is “clear” but conceded that the “implementation is not very easy”. 

Responding to a question on how Pakistan would manage the “ability of the spoilers” to take off track the peace efforts of the government in particular those with India, he conceded that this is a tough task at their disposal. 

“The question is obviously people who want to disrupt these talks, non-state actors of course. No country has totally controlled them. So for somebody to orchestrate an incident, with people on both sides of the border, these kinds of incidents would always take place. We have been urging India not to give a veto to these non-state groups. 

“There is one incident and the whole relationship collapses,” Aziz said. 

Pakistan, he argued, has shown to India that it wants to strongly deal with terrorist groups. 

“There is one incident and the whole relationship collapses,” Aziz said. 

Pakistan, he argued, has shown to India that it wants to strongly deal with terrorist groups. 

“Terrorism is a common threat. In India they have one or two incident a year. We have an incident every week. Therefore, we have suffered much more from terrorism that anybody else. We have told them that in our relationship they have been interfering not through non-state actors but through state actors. So therefore, let’s improve our relationship,” he said. 

Aziz hoped that India would provide Pakistan necessary evidence to carry the investigation of those involved in the Pathankot terrorist attack. 

Earlier a joint statement after the 6th round of ministerial level Pakistan-US strategic dialogue in Washington, said that both countries have agreed to further strengthen the long term partnership between the two countries.

Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had led Pakistani delegation while Secretary of State John Kerry the United States, where they reaffirmed their shared commitment to expand and deepen bilateral trade, investment and environmental cooperation.

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