Nirupama Subramanian

"Relations between Pakistan and India have never been better"

  • "Pakistan's national interests will not be lost sight of"
  • Says extremism has to be defeated if Pakistan has to progress

    ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf told a conference of senior military officials that there was progress in the resolution of the Kashmir issue with India and expressed the hope that moderate forces would join hands to defeat extremism, which was the biggest threat to the country at the moment.

    A military statement said that delivering the main address at the start of the four-day 60th Formation Commanders Conference in Rawalpindi, Gen. Musharraf spoke at length about relations with India.

    "[President Musharraf] expressed optimism on conflict resolution between the two countries. Relations between Pakistan and India have never been better, he remarked. There is increase in trade and economic activity and CBMs are progressing well, he added. There is positive movement in resolution of issues of conflict specially Kashmir he said and reiterated that Pakistan's national interests will not be lost sight of," the release said.

    Pakistan's armed forces were growing stronger by the day and were prepared to meet any external challenge but the country did not have aggressive designs on anyone, President Musharraf said. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri also addressed the conference, at which the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Ehsan Ul Haq, Vice Chief of Army Staff, General Ahsan Saleem Hyat, Corps Commanders, Principal Staff Officers and Formation Commanders, were all in attendance. The President said the biggest challenge facing the country was extremism within. "Moderate forces must win and we must defeat extremism, if Pakistan has to progress," he said.

    Pakistan was affected by the turmoil in the region but by adopting "pragmatic policies and progressive approach" it could leverage an advantageous geo-strategic location to become an important economic trade hub, President Musharraf told the conference.

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