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Defense Minister Expresses Optimism for Islamabad-New Delhi Relations Post-Indian Elections

Defense Minister

Defense Minister Khawaja Asif expressed optimism on Monday regarding the prospect of improved bilateral relations between Islamabad and New Delhi following the conclusion of India’s upcoming election phase, which is set to commence on April 19 and conclude in June.

Addressing reporters outside the Parliament House in Islamabad, Asif acknowledged the longstanding history of strained relations between Pakistan and India, primarily rooted in the dispute over the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

He emphasized that despite these challenges, there exists potential for improvement in relations, particularly after India completes its electoral process.

As tensions persist with other neighboring countries such as Afghanistan and Iran, Asif highlighted the importance of regional stability and expressed hope for positive developments in relations with New Delhi.

India’s forthcoming elections, described as the world’s largest democratic exercise, will witness Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) facing off against a coalition of opposition parties. Asif acknowledged the significance of these elections in shaping regional dynamics.

In light of recent security challenges emanating from Afghanistan, Asif revealed Pakistan’s efforts to engage with the Taliban government to address cross-border terrorism.

However, he noted challenges in achieving tangible progress due to shifting attitudes within the Afghan interim government.

Regarding Pakistan’s commitment to combating terrorism, Asif underscored ongoing efforts to enhance border security and eliminate terrorist threats.

He provided updates on the joint investigation into the recent attack on Chinese nationals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, emphasizing collaboration between Pakistani and Chinese authorities to uncover the perpetrators.

Regarding economic matters, Asif acknowledged the fiscal challenges facing Pakistan, including pending tax recovery cases and losses incurred due to energy theft.

Despite these hurdles, he expressed confidence in the government’s ability to provide relief to the public within the next six months through effective measures.

Responding to queries about the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, Asif called on the United States to offer alternative solutions to meet Pakistan’s energy needs, emphasizing the country’s right to pursue cost-effective energy sources.

He urged Washington to consider Pakistan’s economic situation and provide support in addressing energy shortages.

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