Pak for conscious efforts to avoid regional arms race

Pakistan said that all countries in the region should make "conscious efforts" to avoid an arms race.

Islamabad: Days after India acquired a
nuclear submarine from Russia, Pakistan on Thursday said that all
countries in the region should make "conscious efforts" to
avoid an arms race.

"I think it is important that all countries in the region
should be mindful of the fact that arms race is in no one`s
interest," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a weekly
news briefing. He was responding to a question on whether the
leasing of the nuclear submarine would trigger an arms race."

"This region is suffering from poverty and disease.
It is important we focus on economic development. Millions of
people are still living below the proverbial poverty line.

All countries should make conscious efforts to avoid an
arm race," Basit said. At the same time, he noted that
relations between Pakistan and Russia were "significantly
improving". He said, "We are trying to expand the scope of

India recently took possession of the 8,140-tonne Akula
II nuclear submarine from Russia on a 10-year lease.

The craft was handed over to India in a deal that has
cost nearly one billion dollars. India previously leased a
Soviet-built nuclear submarine in 1988 for three years.

It has now joined China, Russia, the US, Britain and
France as an operator of nuclear submarines. India is also
developing its own nuclear-powered submarine that is expected
to be ready by the end of the year.

Russia is expected to help India train the crew that
will operate the country`s indigenously built nuclear
submarine. India and Russia are long-time allies and Russia
supplies 70 per cent of India`s military hardware.