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Wednesday Jan 17 2018

Pakistan can defend itself despite India-Israel nexus, says Asif


ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on Tuesday that Pakistan can defend itself despite a nexus between India and Israel.

Speaking on Geo News' programme 'Capital Talk', the minister said that Israel has been occupying a huge area that belongs to Muslims.

Similarly, India has occupied Muslims' land in Kashmir, he said, adding, "Both India and Israel have same objectives."

Asif said that Pakistan never recognised Israel and that the India-Israel nexus is based on their enmity with Islam.

He said the Pakistani nation has emotional affiliation with Palestinian people, while the issue of Kashmir is in a way related to Pakistan's survival.

"We can defend ourselves despite this nexus between India and Israel," Asif said.

He said the Pakistani armed forces were fully fighting terrorism and the country's defence capability has increased.

"We achieved success against terrorism after a lot of sacrifices," the minister said, adding that the neither of the government or the nation is perturbed.

Earlier, a spokesman for the Foreign Office (FO) said that Islamabad was also keenly observing the budding nexus between India and Israel, as the two countries edged closer towards a free trade pact, which was likely to include defence cooperation.

India and Israel will begin work on a free trade pact that Israel has been pushing for, officials said on Monday, as Benjamin Netanyahu began a first visit by an Israeli prime minister in 15 years.

Both the countries have built close ties over the years, largely centered on arms purchases, away from the public eye. But under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ties have flowered across the economy.

“We have had diplomatic relations for 25 years, but something different is happening now,” Netanyahu said soon after the two sides signed nine agreements covering cooperation in cyber security, space and oil and gas exploration.

Israel has given initial approval for Indian energy companies to explore oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean, in the first such move by Indian firms in that region.