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PM Sharif says Pakistan reacts to Indian 'arms build-up'

19:37 24 October 2015 Author :   The Staff
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- Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif is on third of four-day visit in Washington DC

WASHINGTON - Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated Friday that the increase of India's recent attempts for “arms build-up” has made Pakistan to take "credible deterrent" measures.  

As part of his four-day visit to Washington DC, Sharif delivered a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace -- a prominent independent think tank in Washington -- where he said India was increasing its arms production.   

"While refusing dialogue, India is engaged in a major arms build-up, regrettably with the active assistance of several powers. It has adopted dangerous military doctrines. This will compel Pakistan to take several countermeasures to preserve credible deterrence," Sharif said. 

Sharif said that he has made several "sincere efforts" to improve the relationships with India - especially over Kashmir - since he came to power two-and-a-half years ago. However, he said, the attempts of Pakistan to negotiate had been cut off by India on "flimsy excuses".

“I accepted his [Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi] invitation to attend his swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi,” he said. "The only way to solve the Jammu and Kashmir problem, besides others, is to have a comprehensive dialogue."

For decades, Pakistan and India have been fighting over the state of Kashmir - of which one third is under Pakistani control and two thirds under Indian control. 

Sharif added that U.S. could play a key role in preventing an increase of tension in the region and helping to bring stability to South Asia. 

Noting that the priority of his country was to defeat the Taliban in Pakistan, Sharif stressed that Islamabad was ready to help peace talks begin again between the Afghan government and Taliban - if Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani would agree.   

Meanwhile, a lone protestor in the conference room shouted "Freedom to Balochistan", "You're the friends of Bin Laden" and "Stop the war crimes in Balochistan." The protestor was removed from the room. 

The Balochistan province, which is also considered to cover parts of neighboring Iran and Afghanistan, is strategically important because of the rich presence of copper, zinc and natural gas but has been beset by violence for over six decades, as separatists claim that it was forcibly incorporated into Pakistan at the end of British rule in 1947.

Anadolu Agency

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