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India no longer rankles Pakistan army: Zardari

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari says targeting the Taliban rather than India does not "rankle" his army because the two nuclear armed countries no longer pose threats to each other's territories.

world Updated: Jul 06, 2009 23:13 IST

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari says targeting the Taliban rather than India does not "rankle" his army because the two nuclear armed countries no longer pose threats to each other's territories.

"It rankles the small mind," he told the Daily Telegraph in an interview published on Monday.

"It does not rankle the army, because after India and Pakistan became nuclear powers, that position of being able to take over another state is nullified."

Zardari's comments, made in Islamabad, came a day after Pakistan's army chief Gen Ashfaq Kiyani said the "immediate internal threat" of Taliban militancy was greater than any "external threat".

Zardari also said that anti-Taliban operations in future will target figures who were the military's "strategic assets."

"I don't think anybody in the establishment supports them any more," he said.

"Military operations are all across the board against any insurgent whether in Karachi, Lahore or whether he is in any part of Pakistan," said Zardari.

"My problem is terror. I have focused myself on terror. The PPP has focused itself against the extremist mindset. Terror is a regional problem, it cuts across borders. I would love to be remembered for creating a Pakistan where militancy - I know it can't totally be diminished - is defeated."

Zardari also said he had become "friends" with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"Karzai and myself are friends. Our military chiefs have met, our intelligence chiefs have met," he told the paper.