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Pakistan envoy

Zamir Akram has expressed concern over India acquiring missile tech from Israel.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2003 21:43 IST

Pakistan's Ambassador to Nepal Zamir Akram has expressed concern over India reportedly acquiring air missile technology from Israel, saying this will trigger an arms race in South Asia.

He made the statement at a press conference ostensibly to talk about a summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to be held in Islamabad January 4-6, the Kathmandu Post daily reported.

The conference, like earlier interactions organised by the embassy, was conspicuous by the absence of journalists with Indian connections who were not invited.

Zamir said finalising the framework of the South Asian Free Trade Area treaty was the major agenda for the summit but cautioned that in South Asia things could change at the last minute to impede the holding of the summit.

The envoy was alluding to the standoff between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan, which had earlier led to the postponement of the summit.

Using the interaction to take a swipe at India, Zamir said New Delhi's bid to acquire aerial surveillance Phalcon radar systems from Israel as well as air missile technology would destabilise the region.

While the U.S. had opposed an Israeli move to sell the radar system to China, it had approved the $3 billion Israel-India Phalcon deal in August, the envoy said.

Relations between the Indian and Pakistani embassies in Kathmandu have been strained since the deportation of a Pakistani embassy staffer recently for trying to circulate fake Indian currency.

The Indian embassy subsequently asked the Nepalese government to downsize the Pakistani mission in Kathmandu, saying its activities were not commensurate with the staff strength.

Both the moves have been rankling with the Pakistani embassy whose diplomats maintain that the staffer was deported at the behest of India.

First Published: Oct 29, 2003 21:43 IST