ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday said the Indian purchase of S-400 missile system was a part of New Delhi’s efforts to acquire a Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system through multiple sources, which will lead to a renewed arms race in the region. “This will further destabilise strategic stability in South Asia besides leading to a renewed arms race,” said the Foreign Office in a statement, Geo reports.
Following the May 1998 nuclear tests by both sides, the Foreign Office noted, Pakistan had proposed a strategic restraint regime in the region, advocating against the acquisition of BMD systems due to their destabilising effect.
“The Indian rejection of this proposal forced Pakistan to develop capabilities which render any BMD system ineffective and unreliable,” the statement read further. “Pakistan remains fully confident of its ability to address threats from any kind of destabilising weapon system,” the Foreign Office added.
Earlier this month, India announced the multi-billion-dollar purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system and several other deals with Moscow during a visit to New Delhi by President Vladimir Putin.
The Indian purchase of S-400 flies in the face of the United States sanctions on countries buying Russian military hardware, as happened with China last month. However, Washington is in a tricky position with India, seeking to bolster ties with the Asian giant to counter China’s growing assertiveness, something which has also rattled New Delhi.
Washington and New Delhi announced plans last month for joint military drills in 2019, and agreed on the exchange of sensitive military information. The US is now India’s second biggest arms supplier. India therefore could expect to gain a sympathetic ear if it seeks a waiver from the US sanctions, but President Donald Trump’s administration has signaled this is unlikely.