Pakistan will not accept the supremacy of any country in South Asia, the country's new foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on Sunday, contending that neither the US nor China or India could downplay Islamabad's strategic significance in the present scenario.
Khar was reacting to questions about US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement exhorting India to play a lead role in the Asian region.
Her comments came a day after Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani rebuffed Clinton's stand, stating that Pakistan does not desire to have a 'chaudhary' or headman in the region.
"Supremacy is out of the question. Pakistan will not accept anyone's supremacy. Pakistan is a sovereign state and will keep intact its sovereignty and strategic importance in the region through the pursuit of an effective foreign policy," Khar told reporters during an interaction at the Lahore airport.
"Pakistan's role in this region is probably the most important now and the US recognises this," she said.
Clinton's remarks have created a flutter in Pakistan as they came at a time when relations between Washington and Islamabad have plunged to a new low.
Explaining Pakistan's stance, Khar said: "Look, whatever role anyone wants for someone and what the actual role is, there can be differences... If the US recognises India's role, in the same way it recognises Pakistan's role.
"We have to have a reality-based and pragmatic approach and no one downplays Pakistan's current strategic significance or importance, not the US, China, or even India".