Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday said that Pakistan continues to believe in using dialogue and diplomacy to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Kashmir dispute.

“Pakistan is ready to move forward on this front if India also agrees to do so,” the COAS said.

“I believe it is time for the political leadership of the region to rise above their emotional and perceptional biases and break the shackles of history to bring peace and prosperity to almost three billion people of the region.”

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Khanewal Indian Missile incident

Gen Bajwa termed India’s “accidental” launching of a supersonic missile into Pakistan on March 9 a matter of “serious concern”.

“We expect India to provide evidence to assure Pakistan and the world that their weapons are safe and secure.”

“Unlike other incidents involving strategic weapons systems, this is the first time in history that a supersonic cruise missile from one nuclear-armed nation has landed in another,” he said.

Relationship with the US

“Pakistan does not believe in camp politics and our bilateral relations with our partners are not at the expense of our relationships with other countries.”

He said that Pakistan sought to broaden and expand relations with both China and the US “without impacting our relations with [either]”.

In addition, relations with the European Union, the United Kingdom, Gulf countries, South East Asia and Japan were also important for Pakistan’s progress, the COAS said.

Pakistan enjoyed a close strategic relationship with China, which was demonstrated by the country’s commitment towards the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said, adding, “Equally, we share a long and excellent strategic relationship with the US, which remains our largest export market.”

Afghanistan situation

“Pakistan recognises that it is the regions and not countries that grow. This is why we believe that peace and stability in our wider region are prerequisites for achieving shared regional prosperity and development. In this regard, our doors are open for all our neighbours,” the COAS said.

The army chief cautioned that an inability to address the issues would “not only lead to a refugee crisis but will again make Afghanistan an epicentre of terrorism where [the Islamic State] with its global agenda flourishes [and] may result in more than one 9/11”.

Gen Bajwa stressed the need for the international community to support the Afghan government. “The performance of present Afghan government is not satisfactory, to say the least, but we have to be patient and accommodative.”

“While Pakistan shares some of the concerns of the international community, we believe disengagement with Afghanistan is not an option,” he stressed.