Pakistan concerned over sale of air defence system to India

February 13, 2020

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday termed United States’ decision to sell integrated air-defense weapons system to India as “disturbing”, saying it would further destabilise the already volatile region. Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui in her weekly press briefing said South Asia cannot afford a further arms race in the region.

“The sale of such sophisticated weapons to India would disturb the strategic balance in South Asia with security implications for Pakistan and the region”, she said.

Farooqui said that the international community was fully aware of India’s aggressive policy designs against Pakistan and the threatening statements of Indian political and military leadership. The U.S. Department of State on Monday approved a possible sale to India of military equipment, comprising an integrated air defense weapon system (IADWS). According to the U.S. Defence Security Cooperation Agency, the cost of the sale, if finalized, would be approximately $1.867 billion.

She said Pakistan would respond effectively to any actions taken by the Indian government. When asked about US President Donald Trump’s mediation offer on Kashmir dispute, the spokesperson said Pakistan hopes that these offers made on more than one occasion will translate into action. “We also hope that the US President will raise the matter during his visit to India.” Responding to a question about Pakistan’s expectations from getting out of FATF grey list, the spokesperson said “we are hopeful and our partners in the international community are willing to support the country on this issue”. Farooqui further stated that Turkey supports Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir, adding that the Turkish president’s visit would improve the existing ties between the two countries. She confirmed that the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will arrive in Pakistan on February 16 (Sunday) and during his visit the UN chief will visit Lahore and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.