World Neighbours 15 Feb 2016 Pakistan-India&rsquo ...

Pakistan-India’s trust deficit exposed as US approves sale of F-16s to Islamabad

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SHAFQAT ALI
Published Feb 15, 2016, 7:47 pm IST
Updated Feb 15, 2016, 7:52 pm IST
A senior foreign ministry official said Pakistan was struggling to convince India that Islamabad did not want war with India.
India expressed ‘displeasure’ over decision of the US to notify the sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan. (Photo: AFP)
 India expressed ‘displeasure’ over decision of the US to notify the sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan. (Photo: AFP)

Islamabad: Pakistan and India’s trust deficit was once again exposed as Washington approved the sale of the F-16 fighter jets to Islamabad – with New Delhi fiercely opposing the decision.

The previous day, India expressed ‘displeasure’ over decision of the US to notify the sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan. “We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism,” Vikas Swarup, a spokesman for India’s Foreign Ministry, said.

 

On Sunday, Pakistan expressed disappointment at the Indian government's reaction regarding purchase of F-16s from the United States.

A senior foreign ministry official said Pakistan was struggling to convince India that Islamabad did not want war with India nor it was sponsoring terror activities in the neighbouring country.

“We are ourselves victim of terrorism and naturally do not want the menace to flourish. Our strong defence is only aimed at avoiding a war rather than encouraging it. War is never an option for us,” he said.

He maintained India believed every bullet or gun Pakistan purchased or produced was designed against it. “We have been trying to tell them we want talks and the F-16s or other jets were for our defence not for attacking India without any reason. Trust level is quite low,” he added.

Another official said back-channel contacts were more positive than the overt efforts for peace. “Behind the scenes, they agree we have the right to improve our defence. The statements against F-16s etc are just political stunts,” he claimed.

He said the back-channel contact were always ‘sensible’ while the direct talks were more emotional – keeping in view the sentiments of the hawks in both the countries.

The official said efforts were being made to improve the trust level which, he admitted, was an ‘uphill task.’

Former Pakistan ambassador Fauzia Nasreen said Pakistan has always played its positive role for dialogues with India on the issue of Kashmir.

“Pakistan’s stance on the issue is very logical, which may lead to peaceful resolution of the dispute at hand. The United Nations and the United States must pressurize India for the solution of the matter,” she said.

Ms Nasreen said all the stakeholders must be taken on board. “China can also play its positive role in solving the issue because the prosperity of the region depends on the permanent solution of Kashmir issue,” she added.

Analyst Dr Mohammed Khan said once the Kashmir issue is resolved, the two nations will concentrate more on business than blame game.

Mr Khan said the trust level could only get a boost when the two countries become friendlier to each other.

The two nuclear armed neighbours, working to return to table after the last month’s Pathankot terror attack, have always had complex relations due to the bitter past.

Relations between the two states have been defined by the violent partition of British India in 1947, the Kashmir conflict and the numerous military conflicts fought between the two nations.

Consequently, even though the two South Asian nations share linguistic, cultural, geographic, and economic links, their relationship has been plagued by hostility and suspicion.

According to a 2014 BBC World Service Poll 21% of Pakistanis view India’s influence positively with 58% expressing a negative view while 17% of Indians view Pakistan's influence positively against 49% expressing a negative view.

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