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India has never been a threat to Pakistan: Zardari


New York : Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has declared that India “has never been a threat” to his country, and has termed militants operating in Kashmir as “terrorists”, though previous regimes in Pakistan called them freedom fighters.

“I, for one, and our democratic government is not scared of Indian influence abroad,” said Zardari in an interview to the Wall Street Journal.

Neither has he any objection to the India-US civilian nuclear cooperation pact, so long as Pakistan is treated “at par”, Zardari said. The US has, however, ruled out an India-like nuclear deal with Pakistan for now.

“Why would we begrudge the largest democracy in the world getting friendly with one of the oldest democracies in the world?” Zardari said.

Not only is Zardari looking to improve ties with Delhi, he notes that “there is no other economic survival for nations like us. We have to trade with our neighbours first.”

Similar sentiments were expressed at the meeting between by Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly late in September.

Zardari imagined Pakistani cement factories being constructed to provide for India’s huge infrastructure needs, Pakistani textile mills meeting Indian demand for blue jeans, Pakistani ports being used to relieve the congestion at Indian ones, the Wall Street Journal said.

For a country that spent most of its existence trying to show that it is the military equal of its neighbour, the new president’s agenda amounts to a remarkable recognition of the strides India has made in becoming a true world power, the Journal commented.