Washington: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his country would be forced to take “countermeasures” to deter against any attacks, given a major arms buildup by India and its refusal to resume talks over Kashmir. “While refusing dialogue, India is engaged in a major arms buildup, regrettably with the active assistance of several powers,” Mr Sharif said in a speech to the US Institute of Peace in Washington. He also noted “a stream of hostile statements by the Indian political and military leadership.”
Mr Sharif charged that a “cancellation” of foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries in August had been followed by increased ceasefire violations by India across the Line of Control. Mr Sharif, who held talks with President Barack Obama in Washington on Thursday, said there was a need to resume dialogue with India and urged the United States to be more understanding of Pakistan’s position in the interests of regional stability.
“I believe Washington to play a constructive role in averting the ever present danger of escalation and promoting stability in South Asia,” he said. Mr Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed in July to revive talks, but escalating tensions over Kashmir derailed the plans.
Earlier on Friday, foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup welcomed Pakistan’s pledge in a joint statement with the United States on Thursday to fight terrorist groups Delhi suspects of attacking Indian targets, but ruled out any third-party mediation to end the Kashmir dispute.
Mr Swarup said India “remains open” to talks between the two countries’ national security advisers.On Friday, Mr Sharif said he had told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Pakistan was prepared to help revive the talks. But he added: “We cannot bring the Taliban to the table and be asked to kill them at the same time.”