WASHINGTON: War with India is not an option, says Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, as a senior US official urges Pakistan to work for promoting peace in South Asia.
In an interview to Al-Jazeera television, Mr. Qureshi said the new government had inherited strained relations with two key countries — India and the United States — and was working to improve ties with both.
In another interview to BBC Urdu, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells said that peace in South Asia was key to the region’s prosperity and urged Pakistan to work for it.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV, foreign minister says there is no military solution — the only solution is a dialogue
Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s July 26 peace offer to India, Mr. Qureshi said that seeking a constructive dialogue with India was a key component of the new government’s policies. “What we did…we thought made sense. Two neighbors with outstanding issues, atomic powers. How do you fix things? furthermore, war is no option. There is no military solution: the only solution is a dialogue,” he emphasized.
Alice Wells also stressed this point in her interview, saying: “We welcome PM Khan’s statements about peace with neighbors and any steps Pakistan takes for this purpose.”
Mr. Qureshi said Pakistan wanted friendly relations with the US while exercising its option to cultivate relations with China and others. “We want the US to be friends with Pakistan. We recognize that the US is an important global power, and they will continue to be a military, technological and economic power in the foreseeable future,” he said.
“They are looking at different options; they are looking at new friends in the region. We do have friends who have been consistent and very valuable. China is one of them.”
Mr. Qureshi said that some other nations also recognized Pakistan’s strategic location and understood its importance, “so, we are not alone, everyone has options”.
Alice Wells acknowledged that Pakistan was “an important country in the region (and has) an important part to play”. Asked what were her expectations from the new Pakistani government, she said: “We have the same expectations that we have from other governments in South Asia.”
She said the Trump administration’s South Asia policy sought to eradicate all “terrorist activities” and “non-state actors” from the region. “We have told Pakistan before that terrorists’ groups are still active in the country and they need to be eliminated,” she added.