Pakistan has expressed its reservations over the inclusion of India in a regional council on Afghanistan proposed by Britain, even as it asked to maintain the "historic neutrality" to ensure that Afghan soil is not used against any of its neighbours.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani conveyed Pakistan's concerns to visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband during a meeting yesterday, the Dawn newspaper quoted its sources as saying.
Gilani said the move to include India might compromise Pakistan's interest. He also discussed the alleged use of Afghan soil by India for "subversive activities in Pakistan" and asked allied forces to address Islamabad's concerns.
"The forthcoming London conference on Afghanistan must exclusively focus on Afghanistan," Gilani was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office.
"The historic neutrality of Afghanistan should be maintained with the commitment that Afghan soil will not be used against any of its neighbours," he added.
Miliband told Gilani that UK considered Pakistan's role as Afghanistan’s neighbour as vital and assured him that Islamabad’s interests will not be compromised.
UK is actively working on setting up a "regional stabilisation council" after hosting an international conference on Afghanistan, scheduled to be held in London on January 28. The creation of a regional framework is being projected by UK as a key theme of the London meet.