Pakistan denies being India-centric

March 9, 2006 at 6:38 AM
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NEW DELHI, March 9 (UPI) -- Pakistan has denied that it has been India-centric, and says it is moving in a different direction.

"They (Indians) are going in a different direction and we are going in a different direction," Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf said.

The Hindu newspaper said Thursday Musharraf was at pains to dispel the widespread belief in the country that the recent visit of U.S. President George W. Bush had proved an embarrassment for Pakistan in contrast to the euphoria generated in India.

"We are pursuing our national interests as other countries do. We are not in competition with India. India has global and regional aspirations. We do not have such aspirations. Our aspirations are defensive. We want to create jobs, reduce poverty," he said.

Musharraf supported the suggestion that it was the Pakistani foreign office and army that had drilled India-centric ideas into the minds of the Pakistani people. He said the political leadership and media should try to remove their India fixation.

"The army will still remain India-centric for obvious reasons," Musharraf added. He said trouble between Pakistan and Afghanistan is the handiwork of the Northern Alliance-dominated Hamid Karzai government, which is sympathetic to India.

"Those conspiring against Pakistan are still living in the decade of 1990s when the Northern Alliance was being helped by other regional countries in their struggle against the Taliban and Pakistan was on the other side. Time has changed, and our strategy today is totally different from what it was in 1990s," he said.

Musharraf said there were elements in Afghani intelligence and the defense ministry, and foreign elements, that were trying to create problems for Pakistan.

"I have given President Bush documented proof of it," he said.

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