Resolution of Kashmir inevitable to sustain regional peace: Qureshi

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi addresses a press conference at Serena Hotel in Kabul on January 7, 2009. Qureshi said the new Pakistan government wanted good relations with its neighbours, including Afghanistan and India. A declaration signed after talks Tuesday between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was a "watershed in bilateral relations," he said. AFP PHOTO/Massoud HOSSAINI

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday said that Pakistan remains steadfast to improve its relations with neighboring countries to build a prosperous South Asia.

He was addressing a National Conference on Strategic Stability in South Asia.

The foreign minister, however, stressed that conflict resolution is the key to strategic stability in the region.

He pointed out the abiding threat to peace and stability emanates from Kashmir dispute which remains unresolved for about half a century.

Qureshi said the Indian denial to the Kashmir right of self-determination and its blatant human rights violations have led to frustration amongst the Kashmiri youth. He said this is the reason that the freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir has gained momentum and caught world attention. He said what we are witnessing in Kashmir is the backlash of Indian atrocities inflicted on Kashmiris.

He said the resolution of this outstanding dispute lies only in dialogue.

The FM said Pakistan is a peace loving country. He said our conduct as a nuclear weapon state will continue to be defined by restraint and responsibility. He said Pakistan will maintain credible minimum deterrence to ensure its national security.

Qureshi said Pakistan is opposed to conventional and unconventional arms race in the region. He, however, said India’ s massive acquisition of conventional arms coupled with offensive posture poses threat to regional peace and security.

Referring to the recent Indian belligerence, the foreign minister said that Pakistan is committed to peaceful and normal relations in its neighborhood. He, however, made it absolutely clear that Pakistan is capable to frustrate any misadventure.

Qureshi said that Pakistan has shown it is prepared to take concrete steps to ease tension and work for friendly relations with India with Kartarpur corridor like initiatives. He said our neighbor also needs to understand that the only way forward is dialogue.