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Monday, May 11, 2009

I have never considered India a threat, says Zardari

WASHINGTON: In a rare admission by a Pakistan leader, President Asif Ali Zardari has said India is not a “threat” to his country, hours after he confirmed that Pakistan had shifted some of its forces from its eastern border with India to fight the Taliban in the tribal belt.

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

“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,” Mr. Zardari said. It is believed that both U.S.President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during meetings with Mr. Zardari here this week, drove home the point that Pakistan should no longer consider India a primary threat; it should instead concentrate on fighting terrorism in its soil.

Asked about moving troops from the Indian border to the tribal areas, Mr. Zardari said: “Pakistan has already done so.” — PTI

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