Pakistan genuinely concerned about role accorded to India in SA Strategy

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Indian Air Force Chief Birender Singh Dhanoa has said that the Indian Air Force is capable of hitting nuclear sites across the border in Pakistan if the country decides to carry out another 'surgical strike'.

But if India carries out any surgical strike in Pakistan or strikes at its nuclear installations "nobody should expect restraint from us", he warned yesterday.

Asif made the statement a day after India's Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) had the capability to "locate, fix and strike across the border".

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has said that India's decision not to send its troops to Afghanistan was in view of Pakistan's opposition, as this would bring in new complexities in the region. "Since 2014, we have wiped them out", he said adding that even Afghanistan should learn from Pakistan's experience to curb sanctuaries from its land.

According to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, the two leaders talked about their mutual commitment to advancing a multifaceted relationship between the USA and Pakistan based on "shared interest" in a secure, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan.

The foreign minister addressed the Indian air chief's remarks at a talk at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Thursday, urging Indian leaders not to contemplate such actions as those could have dire consequences. But it was good.

Asif said a number of terror attacks in Pakistan in recent months had been traced back to elements operating from bases in Afghanistan. "We are genuinely concerned with regard to the role accorded in the Strategy to India in general and its efforts, geared to destabilization in Balochistan, in particular".

Asif said the Pakistan-US bilateral relationship had taken a new turn after the announcement of Washington's South Asia strategy.

He agreed that cooperation between Pakistan and the USA in Afghanistan was crucial to achieving durable peace and stability in the region.

"Name an intelligence agency of any country that does not have links [to armed groups]".

Trump had singled Pakistan out for particular criticism in his policy announcement, saying the country provided safe havens to "agents of chaos, violence and terror", and that the U.S. would be changing how it deals with Afghanistan's eastern neighbour. "We firmly believe that through consistent structured and constructive engagement at political and diplomatic levels, both the countries can continue to work together for the common goal of peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia". Islamabad also accuses Kabul of acting in concert with New Delhi to damage Pakistan's interests.

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