Pakistan concerned over growing India-US ties, says Sartaj Aziz
Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz expressed concern on Thursday over growing India-US defence relations that are “disturbing” strategic and conventional balance of power in the region.
The US approaches Pakistan whenever it needs it, and abandons it when it doesn’t need the country, Aziz was quoted as saying by the media. “Pakistan will convey its concerns to US over the latest issues in the bilateral ties,” Aziz said, adding Pakistan and US officials are expected to meet in Islamabad on June 10.
“We firmly conveyed it to the US that maintaining effective nuclear deterrence is critical for Pakistan’s security and only Pakistan itself can determine how it should respond to growing strategic imbalance in South Asia,” he said.
But Aziz added dialogue is the only solution to all outstanding issues between Pakistan and India.
The remark by Aziz, the adviser to the prime minister on foreign affairs, came after the US strongly backed India’s bid for membership to the NSG.
The US backing came at a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday during which the two sides also inked agreements to boost security and defence cooperation.
Islamabad has stepped up its diplomatic outreach among members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in a bid to stall New Delhi’s chances of gaining membership to the NSG.
The Pakistan foreign ministry’s UN Desk on Wednesday held a briefing in Islamabad for diplomatic missions of NSG member-countries to put forward its argument against India’s membership and to push for its own entry to the elite group.
At the meeting, Pakistan warned that country-specific exemptions could negatively impact strategic stability in South Asia.
Both Pakistan and India have applied to be members of the 48-member NSG that regulates global nuclear commerce.
India is being backed in its bid by several major NSG members, including the US.