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India test-fires Brahmos without notifying Pakistan

India’s test-firing of 450km super-sonic Brahmos cruise missile without notifying Pakistan has once again brought up the issue of avoiding an arms race in the region and strive for strategic stability.

New Delhi’s test-firing did not make it obligatory to inform Pakistan, as the two sides bilateral agreement on pre-notification only covers ballistic missiles. However, Pakistan on Thursday once again reiterated its proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime for South Asia.

“This (launch of cruise missile underscores the need for Pakistan and India to engage in meaningful discussions on further measures for confidence-building, avoidance of arms race and promotion of strategic stability in South Asia.

Pakistan stands ready for such talks with India. Our proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime for South Asia is still on the table,” Foreign Office spokesman told the weekly media briefing. He asked the international community to take note of reports that India had been exercising “strategic restraint” on its missile development prior to getting the MTCR membership.

“This speaks of Indian duplicity in paying lip-service to the objective of non-proliferation while relentlessly pursuing a conventional and strategic arms buildup”, he said. Pakistan finds “significant” remarks by General Joseph Votel, Commander CENTCOM, in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee.

The issue was also raised at the briefing where Votel acknowledged Pakistan as a critical partner in the counter terrorism fight, while also noting that the US relationship with Pakistan remains a very important one.

“Importantly, Gen Votel noted that the Indian policy to diplomatically isolate Pakistan hindered any prospects for improved relations and that tension on the eastern border distracted Pakistan’s efforts to secure border with Afghanistan from incursion by Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters.

Indeed, these are significant observations coming from a senior US commander on the importance of Pak-US relationship”, added the spokesman. Joseph Votel also in his testimony warned about escalation in Pak-India conflict which could lead to a nuclear war at a time when India’s policy of diplomatic isolation of Pakistan would hinder improvement in bilateral relations.

The spokesman, to a query, said there was realization by the international community of the perilous situation created by India. “Indian belligerent posture and irrational defence build-up has long been emphasized by Pakistan. India remains the largest importer of defence equipment in the region and its hegemonic designs are endangering peace and security in the region and beyond. India has to learn to live in peace with all its neighbors, including Pakistan. It is only through peace and dialogue that we can lift millions of our people from the throes of poverty”, commented the spokesman.

Meanwhile, in a bid to further strengthen bilateral relations with Iran, the Pakistan Navy delegation is on a goodwill visit to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. “The Pakistan Navy delegation has received a very warm welcome from the Iranian Navy and the government. This visit is being carried out at the level of the Commodore of Pakistan Navy. Commodore Mirza Foad Amin Baig is commanding the PN Task Group as the Mission Commander,” the spokesman said, adding that the visit was aimed at promoting peace and security in the region and enhancing maritime collaboration between the two brotherly neighbours.

India’s presence at the APA hosted by Pakistan’s National Assembly and the upcoming meeting of the Indus Water Treaty Commissioners meeting has been welcomed by Pakistan with the spokesman saying that the government has been emphasizing the need for sustainable and result-oriented dialogue vis-à-vis our relationship with India —dialogue which should not disrupt or breakdown on flimsy grounds.

“Pakistan has shown a number of gestures which were not reciprocated by India. We hope that India will soon realize that dialogue is a key to peace and stability in the region, as well as peace between our two countries, particularly in the context of the issue of Jammu & Kashmir,” said the spokesman.

He also strongly condemned Indian occupation forces’ continued brutalities in India occupied Kashmir, which claimed life of a minor Kashmiri girl Kaneeza while another minor boy was injured.

“From March 9, 2017 to-date brutalities have been unleashed on defenceless Kashmiris as the international community watched crimes against humanity committed by the Indian occupation forces with impunity continue. Seven other Kashmiri youth were martyred by Indian troops in fake encounters”, the spokesman pointed out.

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