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(2017-06-28) We have taken note of the US-India Joint Statement issued from Washington D.C. on 27 June 2017.

The Joint Statement is singularly unhelpful in achieving the objective of strategic stability and durable peace in the South Asian region. By failing to address key sources of tension and instability in the region, the statement aggravates an already tense situation.

The meeting in Washington D.C. between President Trump and Prime Minister Modi was a missed opportunity to induce India to alter its policies inimical to peace in the region. India’s persistent gross human rights violations in Kashmir and state backed persecution of religious minorities in India need to be replaced by respect for basic human dignity, protection of life, property and freedom of speech. Democratic stewardship, as claimed in the statement, demands that as a minimum.

Pakistan firmly believes in the legitimacy of the Kashmir cause and supports the peaceful struggle of the Kashmiri people for their right to self determination- a right promised to them by the international community through repeated UN Security Council resolutions. Any attempt to equate the peaceful indigenous Kashimiri struggle with terrorism, and to designate individuals supporting the right to self determination as terrorists is unacceptable. Equally unacceptable is the willful disregard of the atrocities being committed by Indian security forces against innocent Kashimiri civilians. This undermines the ideals and principles of the UN Charter. It endangers peace and security in the region.

Pakistan stands ready and committed to resolve all outstanding disputes, especially Jammu & Kashmir, with India through peaceful means and in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions that underscore the importance of addressing the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. This is a commitment that India also needs to make publicly.

Pakistan has been the primary victim of terrorism in the region. Pakistan’s contributions and sacrifices in fighting terrorism are un-matched. No country has sacrificed as much as Pakistan, not only in material resources but in lives. Through relentless security operations, we have achieved significant success in eliminating terrorists and their networks from our soil without discrimination. We are committed to bring the fight against terrorism to its logical conclusion by eliminating this scourge from our soil. Pakistan expects the international community to unequivocally stand with it in this fight against terrorism.

Regrettably, those who seek to appropriate a leadership role in the fight against terror are themselves responsible for much of the terror unleashed in recent years in Pakistan. India has supported the Tehrek-Taleban as a proxy against Pakistan from across the border. India’s culpability in creating this further source of regional insecurity cannot be ignored.

Pakistan is also deeply concerned on the sale of advanced military technologies to India. Such sales accentuate military imbalances in the region and undermine strategic stability in South Asia. This further emboldens India to adopt aggressive military doctrines and even contemplate military adventurism. Transfers of modern military hardware and technologies as well as repeated exceptions made for India have dis-incentivized India to engage in efforts to establish a strategic restraint regime and a durable security architecture in the region.

28 June 2017

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