Credible minimum deterrence needed for regional stability: Sartaj Aziz

Amid rising Indo-Pak tensions, Pakistan on Tuesday said ‘credible minimum deterrence’ was needed for regional stability and warned that instability has consequences with ‘far more dangers’.

Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the imperative of strategic stability was an important dimension of Pakistan-India relations.

“There is need for credible minimum deterrence as instability has consequences with far more dangers,” he said while addressing an international conference on ‘Strengthening Peace and Cooperation in South Asia: Incentives and Constraints’ organised by Islamabad Policy Research Institute.

Aziz claimed that Pakistan is maintaining “minimum nuclear deterrence” for peace and stability in the region and called upon the international community to desist from policies and actions that undermine strategic stability in South Asia.
He stated that supply of weapon systems widens the existing conventional capabilities in the region.

Aziz regretted that the world has not fully recognised the dangers posed to the peace and stability in the region.
On the Kashmir issue, Aziz was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan that, “India was responding to indigenous struggle of Kashmiris for their right of self-determination by denial and illusion.”

He criticised India for terming the “Kashmiri struggle” as terrorism and declaring Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part.

“India must understand ground realities and recognise the indigenous nature of right to self-determination movement” in Kashmir, he was quoted as saying.

Aziz said during negotiations with India, Pakistan would continue to seek normalisation of relationship and promoting steps that would pave the way for settlement of all lingering
disputes including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.

On the NSG issue, Aziz called for criteria-based and non-discriminatory approach for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), asserting that otherwise it will affect
the strategic stability in the region.

He said Pakistan’s application for NSG membership should be evaluated on the basis of fair criterion. Aziz regretted India’s opposition to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project, saying it is based on “no apparent reason”.

Aziz alleged that India is doing so to obstruct Pakistan’s path towards progress and development. He claimed that the “Indian hegemonic temptations” and aggressive posture undermine regional cooperation.

Aziz said Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence based on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integritybut at the same time it cannot remain aloof from the prevailing situation in the region.

He accused India of “sponsoring and fomenting” terrorism in Pakistan.

Aziz also alleged that India had increased violations along the Line of Control to put constraints on
Pakistan’s ability to deploy more troops on the western border.