Mumbai: An India-Pakistan media conclave here has urged the two countries to cut their military expenditure and focus more on socio-economic development.
"Increasing tensions between India and Pakistan, piling up of arms worth billions of dollars, helps only arms merchants of the US and other countries... and is not in the interests of India and Pakistan," Karachi Press Club president Tahir Hasan Khan said on Saturday.
Khan, who is leading a 14-member Pakistani media delegation on a week-long visit to Mumbai and Pune, said he and his colleagues saw many homeless people sleeping on the pavements here.
"It is similar to the situation in Karachi and other (Pakistani) cities. The (two) governments must spend more on poverty alleviation and creating jobs rather than mindless spending on purchase of arms," he said.
Karamat Ali, executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, said the US has been "fooling" both Pakistan and India to benefit arms manufacturers.
Ali pointed out that how the US kept Pakistan hanging for years over an F-16 fighter planes deal and finally delivered the aircraft only to save around 5,000 jobs in its defence manufacturing sector.
"When India protests, the US offers F-18 planes to it. You can see how the US is benefiting by keeping both India and Pakistan at loggerheads," Ali said.
Peace activist Jatin Desai said it was high time the media of both countries addressed issues like food, clothing and shelter.
The conclave was presided over by Navi Mumbai Mayor Sagar Naik. The Pakistanis are in India on the invitation of the Press Club, Mumbai.