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Imran pins hope on Modi for Indo-Pak peace

Pakistan wants to spend more on human development than weapons: PM
monitoring desk
islamabad
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said Pakistan wanted peace with neighbour India, which, however, was dependent on the resolution of Kashmir issue.
In an interview with Russia news agency Sputnik, Imran reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to peace, saying Islamabad wanted to spend money to alleviate poverty rather than on procurement of arms.
“It is my belief that the money should be spent on getting people out of poverty like China got millions and millions of people out of poverty. And so our emphasis should be peace, resolving our differences through dialogue.” With India, Pakistan has repeatedly conveyed its willingness to talk, he said, adding the only solution they could achieve peace with is dialogue.
He warned that Kashmiris’ fight for freedom won’t be suppressed by force, the only way to resolve the issue is to give the right of self-determination to Kashmiri people guaranteed by the United Nations in 1945.
“This use of force by the Indian government to subdue has backfired. With the use of force people of Kashmir have turned against the Indian government, become more radicalised. And it is a future source of destabilisation of the continent. That’s why it is very important to resolve the Kashmir issue.”
Dialogue is the only way forward, said Imran, ruling out military means of hammering out problems.”It is madness.”
Imran, who had hoped to achieve peace if Modi came into power, also talked about the second of term of his India counterpart Narendra Modi.
Now that the [Indian] elections are over we hope that the Indian leadership will grasp this opportunity that Pakistan is offering — that let’s resolve all our differences through dialogue.” “We hope now that the current prime minister [Narendra Modi] has one big mandate, we hope that he will use this mandate to develop a better relationship and bring peace in the subcontinent.”
Progress comes with peace
Pakistan believed that progress comes with peace and was willing to pursue all options – including international mediation – to resolve issues with its neighbours.
“Pakistan is looking for any kind of mediation because Pakistan believes that progress comes with peace. When you have tensions with your neighbours, it detracts from resources that could be spent on human beings. They end up getting spent on unproductive things like arms,” said the PM.
Ties with Russia:
The prime minister also spoke on Pakistan’s plans to further strengthen cooperation with Russia. “We have developed cooperation with Russia between our defence forces … and hope to deepen our contacts.”
“Most of the 50s, 60s, 70s were spent in the Cold War region, where India was close to the Soviet Union, and Pakistan was close to the United States. We were in different camps. Now things have changed … It is refreshing that we have developed our contacts with Russia, and they are developing all the time,” he said.
According to the PM, Pakistani and Russian militaries were already coordinating on the matter of arms procurement.
“First, we hope that our tension with India decreases, so we do not have to buy arms because we want to spend money on human development. But, yes, we are looking for arms from Russia, and I know our military is already in touch with the Russian military,” said Imran.
Speaking about the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek, the prime minister said Pakistan was trying to end its dependence on West and was looking to diversify.
“Previously, Pakistan’s orientation was more towards the West. Now Pakistan is looking to diversify, find new markets or different relationships with those countries, which we had very nominal relationships [with] before. The SCO countries provide us [with] these fresh outlets and developing our relationship with these countries … And, yes, it will be an opportunity to speak to the Indian leadership during this SCO conference.”
He also spoke about the plans to construct a rail network connecting Uzbekistan, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. “I think this is a tremendous project because connectivity between Pakistan going on through Afghanistan to Uzbekistan, to Russia will open up this whole region. And then, remember, from there it will go from Pakistan right down to Gwadar, which is the shortest route to the ocean. So it will open up the whole area.”
“The difference is that we cannot give a timeline, because it depends on the amount of funds — can we generate enough funds for this railway. Secondly, it depends upon peace in Afghanistan. Although I believe that all, even the Taliban and the Afghan government, all feel that this railway is important for the future of Afghanistan. So mainly it is the question of having the funds, but this is a great project for the future of the whole area, the whole region,” said PM Imran.



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