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‘Pak needs to strike balance’

Pakistan cannot afford to be in a “state of perpetual conflict with India” and has to “strike a balance between defence and development,” a top Pakistani military official said.

world Updated: Dec 01, 2010 01:33 IST

Pakistan cannot afford to be in a “state of perpetual conflict with India” and has to “strike a balance between defence and development,” a top Pakistani military official said.

The comments were part of a wide-ranging briefing given to editors, anchors and columnists by the official on Sunday, the Dawn newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The daily did not name the military official but other media reports said army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had briefed a select group of journalists on completing his first term on Sunday.

While referring to the need to achieve a balance between defence and development in relations between India and Pakistan, the military official was also quoted as saying that Islamabad “cannot afford to ignore our basic defence needs.”

The official also said that Pakistan cannot afford to be in a “state of perpetual conflict with India.”

On the triangle of US-Pakistan-India relations, the official said: “The people of Pakistan measure the strength of US-Pakistan relations on the scale of US-India partnership.”

Regarding Afghanistan-India relations, the official said, “Pakistan has no right or desire to dictate Afghanistan’s relations with any country, including India. But Pakistan expects Afghanistan will be mindful of legitimate security concerns (of Pakistan).”

The Dawn reported that the military official’s comments on Afghanistan, India and the US suggested that Pakistan Army’s “India-centric” approach to strategic issues was “still very much in place, with only minor adjustments made to accommodate the changed regional security environment in the 21st century.”