Pakistan on Thursday expressed serious concern over a recent India-Russia $2.9 billion defence deal and said that it is totally against arms race in the region.

 

The defence agreement was signed in New Delhi on Monday during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s day-long trip to India.

 

Under the accords, India will buy 42 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and 71 Mil Mi-17 helicopters, according to the media.

 

Commenting on the recently signed Russia-India arms deal,  the Pakistani foreign office spokesperson told the newsmen in Islamabad  that anything which may initiate nuclear or conventional arms race will not augur well for the future of the region.

 

When asked about the granting of Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India, spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan said the government has decided in principle to grant the MFN status to India.

 

“We are currently undergoing internal processes which are expected to be completed as soon as possible”.

 

He said relations with India improved substantially in 2012 and the Foreign Ministers of both India and Pakistan also held useful dialogue in which they expressed the resolve to resolve all the outstanding disputes.

 

 

The spokesman said that Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will visit Saudi Arabia on January 1st on the invitation of Saudi Foreign Minister.

 

 

During her stay, she will hold talks with the Saudi leadership on further strengthening of bilateral relations.

 

The spokesman again denounced the American drone strike in the country’s tribal regions and said Pakistan considers the drone strikes in the war against terrorism as counter- productive, illegal, violation of “our sovereignty” and against the international laws.

 

Pakistan-U.S. ties: About Pakistan-US relations, the spokesman said there had been ups and downs in the bilateral relations in the year 2012 but now these are witnessing an upward trajectory after the resolution of issues.

 

“Both the countries have repeatedly stated to further strengthen their multifaceted relations. Leadership of both the countries has made it clear that long term peace and stability in Afghanistan is in our common interest. We are trying to evolve a common approach”.

On Afghanistan, Khan said Pakistan has repeatedly said that it support s any initiative that may result in an all inclusive political reconciliation, which is led and owned by Afghans themselves.

 

When question about involvement of foreign nationals in the recent attack on air force base in Peshawar, the spokesman said terrorism and extremism remain a paramount concern to Pakistan.

 

“We are putting in all possible efforts to address this menace. Terrorism is a global phenomenon and we are interacting with different friendly countries to collectively wipe out the threat posed by terrorism”.

 

To a question about Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, the spokesman said Pakistan is an energy deficient country and it is in our own interests to explore cheap means of energy. He said we attach importance to the gas pipeline project and the decision in this regard will be taken in the best national interest.

 

He said President Zardari’s visit to Iran is on the cards and currently both the countries are in the process of working out mutually convenient dates.

 

Giving an overview of 2012 in terms of relations with different countries, the spokesperson said Pakistan had good interaction with Russia this year.

“In 2012, our relations with the Islamic countries further strengthened and the holding of D-8 Summit  was a grand finale of this year”.

The spokesman said Pakistan will assume the rotational presidency of the UN Security Council on the first of next month. “Our mission in the United Nations has chalked out a comprehensive program for debates on various important issues,” he added.

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