Pakistan on Thursday said it was disturbed by the U.S. decision to sell the integrated air defense weapon system to longtime rival India.
“The sale of such sophisticated weapons to India will disturb the strategic balance in South Asia with security implications for Pakistan and the region,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Aisha Farooqui at a weekly news briefing in Islamabad, according to state-run Radio Pakistan.
The Trump administration, earlier this week, okayed the sale of the highly sophisticated system to New Delhi for an estimated cost of $1.867 billion to modernize its armed forces.
Farooqui alleged the defense relations between Washington and New Delhi were contributing to the destabilization of peace and security in South Asia.
“The international community is fully aware of India’s aggressive policy designs against Pakistan and the threatening statements of Indian political and military leadership,” she said, warning that the region could not afford an arms race and conflict.
She urged the international community to prevent the destabilization of the region.
“Pakistan has been warning for a long time about the possibility of some false flag operations by India. We are concerned about the possibility of India resorting to some distraction during the forthcoming high profile visits to the region including those of the Turkish President and the UN Secretary-General to Pakistan and the U.S. President Donald Trump to India,” she went on to say.
Farooqui said her country “maintains an unwavering resolve” to respond most effectively and immediately to any Indian provocation.
Mediation offer by Trump
Responding to a question about Trump’s mediation offer on Kashmir dispute, she said: “Pakistan hopes that these offers made on more than one occasion will translate into action. We also hope that the U.S. President will raise the matter during his visit to India.”
Already mounted tensions between the nuclear rivals have further flared up following New Delhi’s scrapping of disputed Jammu and Kashmir’s longstanding special rights in August last.
The Muslim-majority Himalayan region is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.
Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.