Pak “looks closely” as India gets Russian nuke sub



Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday said it will take steps to maintain the credibility of its nuclear deterrence following India's decision to acquire a Russian nuclear attack submarine on a 10-year lease.

"We are looking at these developments very closely. Rest assured, there will be no compromise in terms of maintaining the credibility of our deterrence," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said during a weekly news briefing.

Basit was responding to a question about Pakistan's response to India's acquisition of an Akula-II class submarine on lease from Russia and the construction of another indigenous nuclear submarine.

At the same time, Basit said Pakistan wants its dialogue process with India to be "uninterrupted and result-oriented, leading to resolution of all issues, especially the Jammu and Kashmir issue".

The Kashmir issue should be settled in line with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and UN resolutions, he said.

"It is essential to keep the Thimphu spirit alive," Basit said in a reference to a meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries on the sidelines of a SAARC summit held in the Bhutanese capital.

The two premiers had then decided to take steps to normalise ties that were snapped following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks carried out by the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Basit said Indian and Pakistani officials had discussed several proposals during a meeting of the Joint Working Group on nuclear and conventional confidence-building measures earlier this week.

He did not give details about the proposals.

The group, which met after a hiatus of four years, discussed "new initiatives and reviewed the implementation of CBMs already in place," he said.

"There is no point in speculating about the response of one side or other side about some specific proposals," he added.

In response to another question about the Kashmir issue, Basit said Pakistan wanted "black laws" to be revoked to improve the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

"We support their legitimate aspirations and there is a debate going on in India as well, to this effect.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir are against the Public Safety Act, the Disturbed Areas Act and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act," he contended.

Basit further said that Pakistan's relations with its neighbours were a "foremost priority" for foreign policy.

"Pakistan has always worked and will continue working towards promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a sovereign country and the reconciliation process should be Afghan-led and Afghan owned," he remarked.

PTI