*WASHINGTON - Pakistan Navy Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi has said that security assistance is not the primary consideration for Pakistan.*
“We want good relations with or without security assistance. We have enough resources in Pakistan. We can work without US assistance,” the naval chief said while speaking to the media in Washington.
The naval chief, who is in United States to attend an international symposium, said during the media interaction: “Though the decision by US to suspend security assistance to Pakistan was not a favourable one, it was not a life or death situation.”
Abbasi went on to say that India’s sea-based nuclear weapon initiative had compelled Pakistan to take steps for maintaining strategic balance in the region.
“It’s an indigenous programme. I will leave at that,” he said. Abbasi also rejected the myth that Pakistan was seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan.
To a question, the naval chief dismissed a journalist’s implication that Pakistan had developed the Babur-III missiles with China’s assistance.
“Afghanistan is a separate, sovereign country and we respect it as that. Whatever strategic depth we have is our own,” he said.
Replying to a question, he also welcomed US-Taliban talks in Qatar. “This is a good beginning that the US is engaged with the Taliban.”
He said the best hope for peace in Afghanistan was the quadrilateral talks that Pakistan had arranged in Murree in 2016.