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India adopting dangerous military policies, says Sharif

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday accused India of setting off a new arms race in South Asia and not responding to his peace overtures, while urging the U.S. to reconsider some of its “existing assumptions and analyses” about the region.

Mr. Sharif said that despite his efforts to reach out, India had refused to talk to Pakistan “on flimsy grounds.” He said the U.S. paying greater attention to Pakistan’s “views and interests” would be useful for Washington to play “a very constructive role in preventing the ever-present danger of escalation” and promote stability in South Asia.

“While refusing dialogue, India is engaged in a major arms build-up, regrettably with the active assistance of several powers. It has adopted dangerous military doctrines. This will compel Pakistan to take several counter-measures to preserve credible deterrence,” Mr. Sharif said, speaking at the United States Institute of Peace, as he concluded his three-day tour of the U.S.

According to Mr. Sharif, it was India’s decision to call off the dialogue with Pakistan after the initial positivity created by his attendance at the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014. “New Delhi cancelled the Foreign Secretary-level talks on a flimsy excuse. I met Mr. Modi again in Ufa, Russia. Again, the National Security Advisers’ meeting was scuttled by India’s attempts to limit the talks to one issue and to dictate the programme of our National Security Adviser in New Delhi,” he said, adding that this was followed by increased ceasefire violations by India across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, “as well as a stream of hostile statements by the Indian political and military leadership.” “Meanwhile, anti-Pakistan actions by Hindu extremists are exacerbating the present tensions in our region,” he said.

Stable democracy

Mr. Sharif outlined the current situation in Pakistan as one in which democracy has stabilised, terrorism is at its lowest in recent years and economy is on an upswing. He said it was relations with India that were “the most immediate and difficult challenge” before him.

The ongoing special drive against terrorists had neutralised all terror groups and a “few remaining hideouts will be cleared soon,” he said. In the next phase of the drive, the state would focus on sympathisers, financiers, and sleeper cells. “We have turned the tide against terrorism in Pakistan,” he said. “And the blood that has been shed has only strengthened our national resolve to fight until the last terrorist is eliminated,” Mr. Sharif said.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 4:09:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-prime-minister-nawaz-sharif-speech-at-us-institute-of-peace/article10172974.ece

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