‘Nuclear power Pakistan knows to defend itself’

Islamabad, Aug 24 (IANS) Holding that as a nuclear-armed country, Pakistan knew how to defend itself, Sartaj Aziz, the prime minister’s advisor on foreign affairs and national security, has accused India of acting like a regional superpower, a media report said on Monday.

“(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s India acts as if they are a regional superpower; we are a nuclear-armed country and we know how to defend ourselves,” Dawn on Monday quoted Aziz saying a day earlier.

“We also have evidence of Indian agency RAW’s involvement in fuelling terrorism in Pakistan,” Aziz said, adding that while Pakistan has evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism, India on the other hand only has propaganda against Pakistan.

“Propaganda against Pakistan is more important for the Indians, rather than giving us evidence,” the adviser stated.

Aziz also said that India wants normalisation on its own terms; it would like to talk about trade and connectivity but not much else.

“If Kashmir is not an issue for India, why have stationed 700,000 troops in Kashmir,” he asked

Aziz also stated that India should hold a referendum in Kashmir, and the people would decide their own fate.

“India should realise after the current episode that their tactics are not working, and they need to be sincere about dialogue with Pakistan,” added Aziz.

On Sunday, the Pakistan government decided to cancel the planned meeting of national security advisors with India, citing New Delhi’s refusal to allow an expanded agenda and a meeting with Kashmiri leaders.

The Indian external affairs ministry immediately termed the decision “unfortunate” and tried to wash its hands of the controversy that led to the cancellation of the meeting by saying that it “did not set any preconditions”.

The decision was announced after Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj virtually set a deadline for Pakistan to decide by midnight if it was ready to go ahead with the talks by agreeing not to meet the Kashmiri leaders and restricting the discussion to terrorism.

Besides a discussion on terrorism, Pakistan had sought inclusion of two additional points in the agenda — a review of the progress on decisions taken in Ufa regarding release of fishermen, facilitating religious tourism and restoring peace along the Line of Control; and exploration of the modalities for discussions on other outstanding issues, including Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachen.

The meeting between the two countries’ security advisors was supposed to signal the resumption of talks between India and Pakistan.

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