By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan is against an arms race in the region, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said while commenting on the recent India-Russia air defence system deal.
The remark was made during the weekly FO briefing in Islamabad.
Dr Faisal said that countries providing India any weapons should make sure their assistance does not disturb the balance of power in the region. He also stated that Pakistan’s armed forces are nonetheless fully ready to respond to any aggression.
While speaking of India, Dr Faisal mentioned that Pakistan had not made any efforts to schedule talks with India on the sidelines of the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in view of the UN General Assembly incident.
“Pakistan has not shied away from talks with India and is open to discuss all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen and terrorism,” Dr Faisal said, noting that it was India that had backed off from talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly sessions after initially agreeing to them.
According to Radio Pakistan, while speaking of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Dr Faisal said that both Pakistan and China are open to third party investment in some of the projects — including the special economic zones.
He also clarified that, contrary to reports, no CPEC projects were being “reviewed” and that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement on the matter had been taken out of context [when reported by some sections of the media].
The FO spokesperson said that engagement with the United States has increased ever the since the new government took office.
Presenting an example of the increased engagement, the FO spokesperson said that during US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad’s recent visit, Pakistan had made it clear that it would take all possible steps to facilitate a political settlement in Afghanistan as peace across the border means peace within Pakistan.