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India not a threat: Zardari

India not a threat: Zardari

Author: PTI
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 10, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/175169/India-not-a-threat-Zardari.html

President Asif Ali Zardari has said India is not a threat to Pakistan and it is facing danger from the terrorists inside the country.

"Well, I am already on record. I have never considered India a threat," Zardari said in an interview on the PBS news channel's popular show "Newshour With Jim Lehrer" on Saturday.

This is the first time a top Pakistani leader has publicly said that the India is not a threat to his country; a fact which Obama Administration has been trying to convince Zardari and the Pakistan Army for quite some time now.

"I have always considered India a neighbour, which we want to improve our relationship with. We have had some cold times and we have had some hard times with them. We have gone to war thrice, but democracies are always trying to improve relationships," Zardari said while responding to a question about "which being the greatest threat to Pakistan? India, or the militants."

Last month, at a White House press conference held on the occassion of his 100 days in office, Obama had said such a believe against India by the Pakistani establishment was "misguided".

It is believed that both Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in their meetings with Zardari this week impressed upon him that Pakistan should no longer consider India as a primary threat and rather concentrate its energies on fighting terrorism inside the country.

However, there has been no official word from the Obama Administration in this regard so far after the meetings.

While responding the question about moving troops from Indian border to the tribal areas of Pakistan to fight the war against terrorism, Zardari said: "Pakistan has already done so."

In an interview to the CNN on Friday Zardari had said Pakistan has already move troops from the Indian border and would do more based on the requirement.

"The fact is that we have moved more troops today and yesterday and the day before. We moved them according to the requirement.

"We already have 125,000 personnel there. So when we need to replace them, we need to improve upon their strength, we do that," Zardari said in response to a question.

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