ISLAMABAD: A day after India received the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets from France, Pakistan on Thursday expressed reservations on the deal, asserting it will disturb the balance of military power in the region.
Responding to the development in the neighbour country, the Foreign Office (FO) called on the international community to “dissuade India from its disproportionate arms buildup which could also lead to an arms race in South Asia”.
“The world is already a witness to the bellicose and irresponsible rhetoric by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in pursuit of a revisionist agenda in the neighbourhood,” said FO Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui during her weekly press briefing.
Farooqui observed that “according to some former senior Indian officials and several international publications […] Rafale jets are dual-capable systems that can also be modified as nuclear weapon delivery platforms”.
The FO statement noticed that it is well-established that India continues to expand and modernise its nuclear arsenal both in terms of type and number of delivery systems. “Besides, India has nuclearised the Indian Ocean and continues to increase the readiness of its arsenal through measures such as canisterisation of missile systems.”
“It is disturbing to note that India continues to amass military capabilities beyond its genuine security requirement. According to credible and reputable international research institutes, India is now the second-largest arms importer in the world,” added Farooqui.
The spokesperson stated that Pakistan has been consistently highlighting “the risks of massive Indian arms buildup as well as India’s offensive security doctrine and force postures, which are adversely affecting strategic stability in South Asia”.
According to the FO, this arms buildup is being aided and abetted through a policy of exemptions, waivers and supply of advanced equipment, technology and weapons for narrow commercial interests.
“Such arms transfers also violate the objectives of various export control regimes on preventing destabilising accumulations of arms in various regions including where there exist outstanding conflicts and disputes.”
“Transfer of advanced systems, where there is an open intention of conversion into nuclear delivery platforms, calls into question the commitment of international suppliers to non-proliferation commitments.”
The FO reiterated that Pakistan remains open to consideration of measures for crisis management, risk reduction, and strategic restraint.
“While remaining opposed to any arms race in South Asia, Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to these developments and remains confident of its ability to thwart any ill-considered act of aggression,” it said.
CONTINUED SUBJUGATION IN HELD KASHMIR:
The FO noted that Thursday marks the 360th day of the continued subjugation and brutalisation of the Kashmiri people in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary in Sialkot, targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-calibre mortars and automatic weapons continue unabated, recalled Farooqui.
She condemned restrictions imposed by Indian authorities on Eidul Azha prayers across held Kashmir.
“Imposition of restrictions on prayers on one of the most important days of the Islamic calendar represents complete disrespect by the Indian government for the sentiments of the Muslims of IOJK. It is also a flagrant violation of their fundamental freedom of religion,” she said.
The spokesperson maintained that Indian authorities are using Covid-19 related restrictions as a pretext to curb religious freedom of the Muslims of IOJK, even as the BJP government has been permitting religious activities in various other contexts and instances.
“Disallowing Kashmiri Muslims to offer Eidul Azha prayers is blatant discrimination,” she said.