ISLAMABAD: The world community must dissuade India from its disproportionate arms buildup which could also lead to an arms race in South Asia, stated the Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday.
“The world is already a witness to the bellicose and irresponsible rhetoric by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in pursuit of a revisionist agenda in the neighbourhood,” said the FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui during the weekly press briefing.
The spokesperson informed that there are reports of the recent acquisition of Rafale jets by the Indian Air Force. “According to some former senior Indian officials and several international publications these Rafale jets are dual-capable systems that can also be modified as nuclear weapon delivery platforms,” said Farooqui.
The FO maintained that it is well known that India continues to expand and modernise its nuclear arsenal both in terms of type and number of delivery systems. Besides, according to the FO, India has nuclearised the Indian Ocean and continues to increase the readiness of its arsenal through measures such as canisterisation of missile systems.
“It is disturbing to note that India continues to amass military capabilities beyond its genuine security requirement. According to credible and reputable international research institutes, India is now the second-largest arms importer in the world,” said the spokesperson.
She stated that Pakistan has been consistently highlighting “the risks of massive Indian arms buildup as well as India’s offensive security doctrine and force postures, which are adversely affecting strategic stability in South Asia”.
According to the FO, this arms buildup is being aided and abetted through a policy of exemptions, waivers and supply of advanced equipment, technology and weapons for narrow commercial interests.
Such arms transfers also violate the objectives of various export control regimes on preventing destabilising accumulations of arms in various regions including where there exist outstanding conflicts and disputes, said Farooqui. “Transfer of advanced systems, where there is an open intention of conversion into nuclear delivery platforms, calls into question the commitment of international suppliers to non-proliferation commitments,” she added.
The FO maintained that Pakistan remains open to consideration of measures for crisis management, risk reduction, and strategic restraint.
“While remaining opposed to any arms race in South Asia, Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to these developments and remains confident of its ability to thwart any ill-considered act of aggression,” said Farooqui.
Continued subjugation in IOJK
The FO noted that today marks the 360th day of the continued subjugation and brutalisation of the Kashmiri people in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK). It was informed that in yet another so-called cordon and search operation, Indian-occupation forces martyred Aijaz Ahmad Bhat and Ishfaq Rashid Khan in Srinagar area.
Ceasefire violations on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-calibre mortars and automatic weapons continue unabated, reminded Farooqui.
This year alone, India has committed 1,823 ceasefire violations to date, resulting in 14 deaths and critical injuries to 138 innocent civilians, according to the FO.
Farooqui reiteriated that Pakistan strongly condemns restrictions imposed by Indian authorities on Eidul Azha prayers in IOJK.
“Imposition of restrictions on prayers on one of the most important days of the Islamic calendar represents complete disrespect by the Indian government for the sentiments of the Muslims of IOJK. It is also a flagrant violation of their fundamental freedom of religion,” she said.
The spokesperson maintained that Indian authorities are using Covid-19 related restrictions as a pretext to curb religious freedom of the Muslims of IOJK, even as the BJP government has been permitting religious activities in various other contexts and instances. “Disallowing Kashmiri Muslims to offer Eidul Azha prayers is a blatant discrimination,” she said.
Pakistan urges the international community, the United Nations, and human rights and humanitarian organisations to take notice of the glaring denial of the religious rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people in violation of international laws and conventions, said Farooqui.
Farooqui apprised that China-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Nepal Quadrilateral Foreign Ministers’ video conference on a joint response to Covid-19 was recently hosted by China – State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China H E Wang Yi chaired the conference.
According to Farooqui, in his video-message at the conference, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi lauded the initiative for the quadrilateral platform for a joint response to the pandemic, and stressed that the global community needed “unity, solidarity and multilateral cooperation to fight Covid-19 that knew no boundaries, no religion and no ethnicity”.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar underlined at the conference that the pandemic has inflicted “a punitive human and economic cost globally and has disrupted the social and political architecture of the world,” said Farooqui.
Pakistan is ready to enhance cooperation with the participating countries in both – combatting the coronavirus and in the post-pandemic economic recovery, said the spokesperson.