Pak wants peaceful re­la­tions with ‘bel­liger­ent’ In­dia: Ba­jwa

Financial Chronicle - - FUNDAMENTALS, POLITICS -

PAK­ISTAN gen­uinely wants to have peaceful ties with its neigh­bours, in­clud­ing a “bel­liger­ent” In­dia, the coun­try’s Army chief Gen­eral Qa­mar Javed Ba­jwa has said, un­der­lin­ing that it takes “two to tango”.

Re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan have suf­fered a se­ries of set­backs fol­low­ing a num­ber of ter­ror at­tacks by Pak­istan-based mil­i­tants. New Delhi has made it clear to Is­lam­abad that bi­lat­eral talks can­not take place un­less Pak­istan dis­man­tles the ter­ror net­works on its soil.

Re­la­tions be­tween Pak­istan and Afghanistan have also been tense with the two coun­tries ac­cus­ing each other of turn­ing a “blind eye” to­wards mil­i­tant out­fits.

Speak­ing at a sem­i­nar here on Thurs­day on ‘In­ter­play of Econ­omy and Se­cu­rity’, Gen. Ba­jwa said, “Our ex­ter­nal front which con­tin­ues to re­main in a flux. With a bel­liger­ent In­dia on our East and an un­sta­ble Afghanistan on our West, the re­gion re­mains cap­tive due to his­tor­i­cal bag­gage and neg­a­tive com­pe­ti­tion.”

He said there is a need for com­pre­hen­sive ef­fort to pur­sue the Na­tional Ac­tion Plan and re­move vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties well be­fore they turn into threats. “But on our part, we are mak­ing a de­lib­er­ate and con­certed ef­fort to pacify the west­ern bor­der through a mul­ti­tude of diplo­matic, mil­i­tary and eco­nomic ini­tia­tive. We have ex­pressed and demon­strated our gen­uine de­sire to have nor­mal and and peaceful re­la­tions with In­dia, how­ever, it takes two to tango,” he said.

The Gen­eral also ex­pressed con­cern over the coun­try’s debts, say­ing the abysmally low tax to GDP ra­tio must change if the coun­try has to “break the beg­ging bowl”. “Growth has picked up but the debts are sky high. In­fra­struc­ture and en­ergy have im­proved con­sid­er­ably but the cur­rent ac­count bal­ance is not in our favour,” he said. The fi­nance min­istry fig­ures put Pak­istan’s for­eign debt and li­a­bil­i­ties at around $58 bil­lion.

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