Pakistan has signed defence cooperation agreement with Russia

Pakistan has signed defence cooperation agreement with Russia

ISLAMABAD - Defence Minister, Khurram Dastgir Khan says Pakistan has suffered the most being an ally of United States, but price tags can't be put on the countless sacrifices by our people, armed forces and on the economic loss.

He was addressing a public talk titled 'Contours of Pakistan's security Environment' organized by Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad today.

Khurram Dastgir said the United States has not suspended aid under its recent decision, but actually suspended all efforts for dialogue on countering terrorism.

He stressed that without a continuous working level dialogue, no high level interactions can be productive and dialogue has to be kept open as long as the US is in Afghanistan.

Khurram Dastgir underscored that Pakistan after concerted efforts over the last four years has come out of the tirades of extremism, terrorism, energy crisis and is on its way towards sustainability of these gains.

He said as Pakistan is consolidating its gains made in war against terrorism, the regional and international powers should opt for cooperation instead of criticizing it.

The Defence Minister said the pervasive insurgency in Afghanistan is continuously threatening us.

He said a stable and democratic Afghanistan is one of Pakistan's foreign policy priorities.

The defence Minister said it is very unfortunate that the United States blames Pakistan for supporting terrorist outfits in Afghanistan but it does not even lift a finger in supporting Pakistan for effective border management.

He said the United States has tried to convince Pakistan that there are no threats from India but the ground realities are different.

The Minister reiterated Pakistan's moral, diplomatic and political struggle to the Kashmiri people.

Referring to Pakistan's strengthening ties with China and Russia, the Defence Minister said our all-weather friendship with China has been transformed into partnership through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

He said Pakistan has also signed defence cooperation agreement with Russia and joint exercises are also being conducted.

Later speaking during the question answer session, Khurram Dastgir said Pakistan has not yet suspended the logistics support and supply routes for United States but hinted that it is a leverage which we will use at an appropriate time.

To another question about the timeline given to Afghan refugees for leaving Pakistan, the Defence Minister said we want them to return to their country voluntarily and with dignity.

He said our calculations on terrorist outfits have revealed that they use refugee camps for their nefarious activities and once the refugees leave we will be able to clear these camps.