February 20, 2018

Don't target our nuclear sites, Pakistan warns India

07 October 2017, 12:18 | Rufus Hill

FM off to US on three-day visit

Asif meets top US diplomat in Washington

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has lamented the Pakistan's decision made in 80s regarding entering into the USA war against the Soviet Union.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has said that his meeting with Secretary Tillerson was an important interaction after President Trump announced US South Asia Strategy on August 21.

Mattis had said on Tuesday that the United States would try "one more time" to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan before President Donald Trump would turn to options to address Islamabad's alleged support for militant groups. While both USA and Pakistani sides have described the Asif-Tillerson talks as "positive" and "useful", Mr Asif indicated that his meeting with Gen McMaster was not as friendly as the earlier meeting.

Responding to a question on India, he said, "sadly India did not respond" to Pakistani efforts to improve a relationship.

Asif has met with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who described Pakistan as a partner of the US and critical to the long-term stability of the region.

Pakistan has the world's fastest growing nuclear arsenal, and has said it has developed tactical nuclear weapons to counter India's cold start military doctrine, which reportedly envisages lightning thrusts into enemy territory by small and heavily armed units. In 2015, Pakistan hosted peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government that subsequently collapsed.

"Burden of a 16-year-long war in Afghanistan has now passed to a new Afghanistan", he said, adding "for Pakistan the timeline of managing the fallout of Afghanistan's instability is 30 years and still counting".

Khawaja Asif observed the bilateral ties between the two countries had taken a new turn after Trump administration unveiled its South Asia strategy as he reiterated that Pakistan's commitment to the relationship. He said that terrorist outfits were liabilities and Pakistan needs time to get rid of them. "I believe India wants that to happen, but it's very hard to do that if your concern is that you open the border to one thing, and you get something else", Mattis said. "We have urged them to ask India to give up defiance". He also stressed that he does not speak against the government's policy. "The last four years have transformed the landscape of Pakistan. This is more than half of our life as an independent country". "Pakistan responded to this tide of terrorism by building a strategic national consensus on a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy".

Asif elaborated that the country considers itself a longstanding friend of the U.S.; and that the relationship is underpinned by certain shared values.

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