Pakistan has no problem with India, US deepening ties, says country's defence minister

PTI | Islamabad | Updated: 18-06-2023 03:23 IST | Created: 17-06-2023 23:09 IST
Pakistan has no problem with India, US deepening ties, says country's defence minister
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Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said Islamabad does “not have any problem” with the United States deepening its ties with India, provided it does not come at the cost of Pakistan, a media report said on Saturday.

The remarks come as Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to arrives in the US on June 20 on an Official State Visit at the invitation of President Joe Biden, during which India and the US will discuss five broad areas of significance -- healthcare, technology, renewable energy, education and defence.

The defence minister expressed these views while responding to a question about India expanding its relationship with the US, as well as ties between Islamabad and New Delhi, particularly in context of the Kashmir issue, during an interview with News Week published on Saturday.

“I think we do not have any problem with the United States developing a partnership with India if it is not at the cost of Pakistan,” Asif said, adding that Pakistan wanted good relationships with its neighbours and regional partners.

“We have common borders with China, we have common borders with Afghanistan, Iran, India. We would like to improve our relationships with them if the relationship is not good. We want to live in peace. If there is no peace there, we will never be able to restore our economy the way we want to restore it,” he said.

He also mentioned that Pakistan’s economy was “vulnerable'' and not a very big one.

“All we have is a geographical location, which is strategic, which attracts, I would say, not all the good things, it sometimes attracts some things which really make us even more vulnerable.” “I personally feel that some appreciation is required in Washington about our situation, and we should not be pushed into a situation where we have to make some very hard choices,'' he added.

“Our relationship with America for us is very valuable. It has its history. It has some disappointments, some huge disappointments, but still we value our relationship with the United States and we want that relationship to flourish,” the minister said.

“We are big trade partners, we have a very large Pakistani diaspora in the United States and Pakistani interests over there. So, their business interests are also, considering our size, they are quite attractive and large,” Asif said.

“This is something which we have to balance and, under the circumstances, under economic pressures, we are finding it difficult, but we survive.” The US has recently deepened ties with India, a cornerstone of Biden's efforts to contain China’s expanding influence, with his administration also hoping to persuade India to buy US military drones.

Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan recently said the US expects a “transformational moment” in India ties during Modi’s trip while one of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s objectives during his visit to China will be to manage escalation to ensure that the world’s two biggest military powers do not “veer in to conflict”, reported Dawn newspaper.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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