ISLAMABAD: Nearly a week after India signed a massive defense deal with Russia, Pakistan has warned the world of an impending arms race in the neighborhood while accusing its archrival and nuclear neighbor of skewing the balance of power in the region.
“We have always said that we don’t want to get ourselves involved in any arms race,” Dr Mohammad Faisal, Spokesperson for Foreign Office, said during his weekly briefing on Thursday.
His comments were in response to a question about New Delhi’s recent $5 billion deal with Russia to acquire the S-400 air defense missile system that offers one of the most sophisticated surface-to-air capabilities in the world. The S-400 has a range of 400 kilometers and can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously, by launching two missiles at each target.
“The countries that are providing these weapons to India should be mindful that this will destabilize the balance of power in the region,” Faisal said, adding that Pakistan was fully prepared to defend itself and “India should not be under any illusion” about that.
He said that Pakistan wanted to initiate a dialogue with New Delhi to resolve all outstanding issues and Prime Minister Imran Khan had also written a letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for this purpose. However, India turned down the offer after first accepting it.
Lt Gen (r) Amjad Shoaib, a security analyst, told Arab News that India’s purchase of the S-400 air defense missile system from Russia would boost its defense capabilities and give it an edge over Pakistan’s defense system. “This system surely endangers not only the security of Pakistan but also other countries in the region, too,” he said.
Shoaib said that India would get the possession of the air defense system from Russia after two years, adding that “we can utilize this period to come up with a more sophisticated technology to counter it”.
He added that Pakistan was buying high-end armed drones from China to counter India’s defense capabilities. “China is also purchasing S-400 defense system from Russia … Pakistan and China both can study it and manufacture another indigenous sophisticated weapon of their own,” he said.