Aziz warns India against arms race

Agence France Presse

Brussels, January 27:

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz yesterday urged India to desist from an arms race that he warned would be economically dangerous and “destructive” to South Asia.

A strategic balance was vital to peace in the region, as well as a solution to the two countries’ five-decade-old dispute over Kashmir, he told the Royal Institute for International Relations here. India’s conventional forces vastly outnumbered Pakistan’s, especially in air and naval power, Aziz said. “The gap is growing by the day,” he said, with India “rapidly expanding, upgrading and modernising” its armed forces. “Pakistan does not, and I repeat does not, wish to enter into an arms race with any country, including India, whether this is nuclear or conventional,” the prime minister said. “We believe such a race is neither economically sustainable nor morally tenable, and would be destructive to the entire region. The two neighbours need to invest in the tools of development, not in tools of destruction. We will continue to pursue a policy of restraint and responsibility in nuclear matters. We hope that India will agree to the concept of strategic restraint in South Asia,” the Pakistani leader said. Despite his warnings, Aziz reaffirmed comments made during three days of talks with European Union officials in Brussels that Pakistan is serious about peace with India.