Musharraf rules out war in near future

Washington June 26. While the relationship between Pakistan and India can ``never be said to be satisfactory'', the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, does not expect a war in the near or forseeable future.

``...Your question whether there will be war this year, impossible. Two hundred per cent, there won't be war. There will be no war...I don't see any war in the near future, forseeable future. I think for several reasons. One is the understanding of the leaders. We've fought three wars and we know the hazards of war and I think no leader in his right senses will go to war,'' Gen. Musharraf said addressing the editors and reporters of the Washington Post.

``The other thing is it's purely military. These are balance of forces. There is a certain balance that we are maintaining there...our strategy of minimum defence is very much in place, and no country, no opponent, Indians cannot accept the damage that it can incur on them in any outcome of war. So there's no question this deterrence is very much in place and there's no possibility from a military point of view, possibility of war. I don't foresee war at all,'' Gen. Musharraf said.

In an address organised by the United States Institute of Peace, he called upon the U.S. and the Western world to come to terms with the genuine grievances of the Islamic world; and pointedly said that many in Pakistan questioned the value of the cooperation with the U.S. and this had to do with doubts on the wisdom of the approach.

``This is due to the perception that the symptoms rather than the root-causes of terror and extremism are being addressed and that unjust situations in which Muslim peoples are victims of state terror are being ignored,'' Gen. Musharraf said.

``The Muslim world has started thinking that their religion, Islam is being targeted. On the other hand, the non-Muslim world has started perceiving Islam to be a religion of terrorism, extremism, fundamentalism, intolerance,'' he said.

``If a Middle East and a South Asia peace process can develop credibility, the very negative Muslim perceptions arising from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will become much less so,'' Gen. Musharraf said.

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