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Pakistan warns India against 'hot pursuit'

July 26, 2006 17:24 IST
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Pakistan would cooperate with India to root out terrorism but would pay back in the "same coin" if any "punitive action" was initiated against it in "hot pursuit" of terrorists, President Pervez Musharraf has said.

"Nobody should have this wishful thinking that Pakistan will bear any kind of adventure inside its territory. No one is there who can take any punitive action against Pakistan, as its defence is in strong hands," Musharraf was quoted as saying by Pakistan's online news agency.

This was stated by the Pakistan President while inaugurating an oil refinery and laying the foundation stone for a liquid cargo terminal at Port Qasim near Karachi Tuesday.

"Nobody should be under any illusion or cast an evil eye at us or talk of punitive action," he said referring to reports in the Pakistani media in this regard.

The news agency reported that Musharraf said his country was ready to cooperate with India to root out terrorism.

For the last few days, Pakistani leaders and officials have been referring to Pakistani media reports about the possibility of India carrying out punitive strikes or hot pursuit of terrorists. The references were to "some reports" from India without specifying who actually said what.

On Monday, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, in response to a question about such "reports", also said "nobody should make (this) mistake...Pakistan will not allow hot pursuit into its territory".

"Pakistan wants to pursue the path of peace, wants peace process to resume and is ready to discuss all issues," Aslam had said recalling India's move to mass troops along

Pakistan's borders in 2001 in response to attack on the Indian Parliament. "Even then we had to return to the negotiations table and that is the option before us."

She had also termed the media reports in this regard as "extremely irresponsible".

In his speech, Musharraf said peace will be achieved through strength and not by weakness. Pointing to the Israeli strikes on Lebanon to attack Hizbullah positions, he said Israel could act like that because of weakness of Beirut.

On Pakistani's defence alllocation, he also claimed that despite the Rs 18 billion increase in this year's defence budget, Pakistan's defence expenditure had come down.

"If you keep in mind the increase in the gross domestic product, you will note that Pakistan's defence budget has decreased," he said.

Musharraf said security was a necessity and Pakistan would ensure it at every cost.

Pakistan, in the recent times, finalised a five billion dollar package to buy about 26 F-16 planes from US and a one billion dollar deal to buy airborne SAAB radars from Sweden besides deals to purchase six naval frigates from Greece and China.

Musharraf said that Pakistan was totally against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and would continue to cooperate with all countries.

Maintaining that no energy project could succeed without Pakistan's participation because of its strategic location, he invited foreign investors to invest in energy projects in his country.

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