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Canada may end Pak arms embargo; India concerned

Canada has said it may end its 11-year long arms embargo on Pakistan, prompting India to express concern that foreign military assistance might be used against it by Islamabad. Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who is on a visit to Pakistan where PM Yousuf Raza Gilani urged his country to end the arms embargo to help it fight the raging Taliban insurgency.

world Updated: May 21, 2009 22:12 IST

Canada has said it may end its 11-year long arms embargo on Pakistan, prompting India to express concern that foreign military assistance might be used against it by Islamabad.

Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who is on a visit to Pakistan where Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani urged his country to end the arms embargo to help it fight the raging Taliban insurgency.

MacKay told the Toronto Star in an interview from Islamabad that Canada is considering ending its 11-year embargo on the sale of military technology to Pakistan.

"Doing military business in the future, and trade in particular, is something that is under consideration," MacKay said after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari.

However, he added, "We are not there yet".

Reacting to the report, India expressed concern over the possibility of Canada resuming military exports to Pakistan.

"It is a matter of concern for India because past experience suggests that foreign military assistance in Pakistan had been used to bolster (capabilities) against India," Indian High Commission sources told PTI.

Canada had prohibited military exports to Pakistan in May, 1998, after the country's first nuclear weapons test.

MacKay said that he and Pakistani defence officials also agreed to resume a co-operation deal, the Military Training Assistance Program.