|Saturday, 8 November 2003|
Pakistan vows to match India over Israeli radar deal
BRUSSELS, Friday (AFP) Pakistan's foreign minister condemned Israel's decision to sell airborne radar systems to India, saying it would destabilise both the Middle East and southern Asia and warning Islambad would respond in kind.
Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri urged the international community to put pressure on both Israel and India over the deal to sell three Phalcon airborne early warning radar systems to the Indian air force.
"It will destabilise the whole region, not just South Asia (but) including the Middle East. It is very, very dangerous," he said during a visit to Brussels.
"India should desist from introducing yet another new generation of weapons system. If it does that we will be forced to match... Only a very foolish government in Pakistan would take a sleeping pill and go into a long slumber."
Kasuri said Pakistan, which nearly went to war with its neighbour and nuclear rival last year, would be forced to react even though "it will mean greater poverty for the already poor people of south Asia".
"So the world community must apply pressure on Israel and on India to not introduce yet another dangerous new generation weapons system in south Asia," he said.
Last month India signed a deal with Israel to buy three Phalcon radar systems and an accord with Russia to purchase aircraft that will be equipped with the airborne radars.
The United States, which had earlier blocked the sale of Phalcons to both India and China, has now given Israel the go-ahead to sign the deal with New Delhi.
Kasuri insisted Pakistan did not want an arms race with its much larger neighbour. "We are not an arms race with India. We have decided to have a minimum deterrent," he said.
The minister, speaking after meetings with EU officials, said the world needs to do more to help avoid a new war between the nuclear neighbours, whose dispute over Kashmir has been called the world's most dangerous flashpoint.
"We need the engagement of the international communitunty and we need it very badly," he said. "If war is to be avoided between India and Pakistan in the long run ... we will need the support of the international community."
"Last year we avoided a war luckily. We can't play with luck all the time," he added.
Produced by Lake House