Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Told Tillerson India a threat to Pakistan: Defence minister


ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir remarked that country’s top leadership conveyed to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that India is indeed a threat to Pakistan.

Tillerson, who held a meeting with top leadership earlier in the day, was of the view that India is not a threat to Pakistan, said Dastgir while speaking on Geo News programme, Capital Talk.

However, we told him that the threat of India is very real, he explained.

Dastgir was sharing the discussions pertaining to India in the meeting with Tillerson. “We told him that we don’t mind economic operation between the two countries but we have reservations against India’s role in regional security.”

Tillerson also explained that the Trump’s speech on August 21, in which he alleged that Pakistan is supporting “agents of chaos”, was not merely targeting Pakistan.

“Trump’s speech was for entire South Asia,” he said, adding that US has assured Pakistan that it is very important for the region.

Sharing details of the meeting, Dastgir said that Pakistan told the US that “we don’t want any aid from them” rather we expect “mutual respect and cooperation” so that the two countries can work together towards joint goals.

The best example of this cooperation can be seen in the case of Canadian Joshua Boyle and American Caitlan Coleman, said Dastgir.

The couple and their children were rescued by Pakistan Army on October 12.

“Pakistan Army acted on the intelligence provided by the US.” He also remarked that Pakistan wants a transparent and honest relation with US. 

On relations with Afghanistan, Dastgir remarked that “Pakistan respects Afghanistan’s sovereignty and expects the same from them.” He shared that the government is fencing the border with Afghanistan to ensure a “regulated contact” with it.

The fencing of the border is just for the protection of Pakistani-citizens, he added. 

Explaining why instead of separate meetings Pakistan’s top leadership held one meeting with Tillerson, Dastgir said that “this was a well-thought plan by the PM.” The idea was to give a “united message to the US”.

The PM also didn’t hold any one-on-one meeting with Tillerson, he said, adding that the picture of the two leaders shaking hands was just that.