President Asif Ali Zardari has said he is hopeful that the dialogue between Pakistan and India, stalled in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, would resume after the general election in the neighbouring country. Zardari claimed that his “bold peace overtures” to India had received “no positive response”.
In an interview with Dunya TV channel, he said the Mumbai terrorist attacks stalled the peace talks but he hoped the dialogue would resume after the elections in India. He also noted that there had been a significant increase in the Indian defence budget. India hiked its defence spending by 24 per cent in the current fiscal.
Referring to Pakistan’s concerns about the perceived increase in Indian influence in Afghanistan, Zardari said a number of international intelligence agencies were involved in “spy games” in Kabul and there is a need for global consensus to end this practice.
Zardari also said the US has assured Pakistan that it will not carry out drone attacks in the Balochistan province. “Not only the people of Pakistan but also the government is concerned over the drone attacks,” he said. The US has incorporated several of Pakistan’s suggestions in its new policy for Afghanistan but the two countries disagreed on the drone strikes. However Washington “has assured us it will not carry out drone attacks in Balochistan,” he said.