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India, Pakistan can`t afford another war as both have nukes: Imran Khan

PTI | Last Updated: Saturday, December 7, 2013 - 21:23

New Delhi: Pakistani politician Imran Khan on Saturday said that despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif`s recent statement on a possible fourth war with India over Kashmir, both the countries cannot to afford to do so as they are nuclear powers.

He also noted that cooperation between the two countries on issues like energy and food security was important and both could possibly have a joint civil-nuclear cooperation if his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, comes to power.

Reacting to a question on Sharif`s recent statement that a fourth war between India and Pakistan is a possibility on the issue of Kashmir, Khan said "I dont think even Nawaz Sharif believes that because the two nations with nuclear weapons do not go to war."

He maintained Kashmir still remains the "core issue" of dispute between the two countries and once that problem is solved all other problems would be solved.

Khan claimed both the countries had almost finalised the details of a deal on Kashmir that could have possibly put an end to the problem in 2008 but the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai derailed the talks.

The cricketer-turned-politician, who now heads Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, a political party, was speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here during a seminar on `India and Pakistan: Working Out`.

He added both the countries needed to cooperate on major issues like food and energy security.

"For India, if it has to achieve growth of 9 to 10 per cent, you need energy and from where will you get energy? All the corridors, it may be oil from Iran or gas from the Caspian Sea, have to pass through Pakistan.

"We are facing a major problem of food security, so we can have cooperation on this. Plus, there are major issues like water security on which both the countries require greater cooperation," Khan said.

He said if his party came to power, it will undertake two major programmes--try to bridge the mistrust and ask for a joint civil-nuclear cooperation managed and operated by the two countries on its borders.

Secondly, as a confidence-building measure his government will look to free prisoners trapped in Pakistani jail, who were arrested for either straying in Pakistani waters or for accidentally crossing the border.

Emphasising on the need to have a strong leadership in both the countries who could bridge the gap of "mistrust" and make people understand "the dividends of peace", Khan noted that younger generation of India who have not felt the pangs of the Partition advocated better relations between India and Pakistan.

"The new generation does not have hatred. In India and Pakistan, the younger generations want change," he said.

Pushing for greater cooperation between the two countries, he questioned on why can`t the sub-continent have a similar system like ASEAN or EU where the countries are reaping the benefits of greater and "better cooperation".

Reacting to a question on his sharing dais with Hafeez Saeed and in the same breath talking peace with India, he said "if you are in politics, then you have to talk to people. That does not mean you endorse their view. There were 14 parties on the dais of which one was of Hafeez Saeed."

Stating that no country can beg and grow big, he said Pakistan should not rely on aid if wants to grow.

First Published: Saturday, December 7, 2013 - 21:23
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