Pak to maintain balance in conventional forces:Gilani

Islamabad: Contending that military weakness invites aggression from stronger nations, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani today said Pakistan will maintain a balance in conventional forces "suitably backed by minimum credible deterrence" to defend its territorial integrity.

Though Pakistan "does not harbour any aggressive designs against any state," it is determined to defend its territorial integrity and safeguard sovereignty, he said at an event to mark the launch of activities related to the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar to be held at Karachi in November.

"That is why we need to maintain a balance in conventional forces suitably backed by minimum credible deterrence," he told a gathering that included senior military officials.
Pakistan will continue to "develop her military potential that guarantees peace with honour and dignity," he said.

The country has significantly developed indigenous capabilities for producing sophisticated weapon systems and equipment, he said without giving details. "Our military capability is basically for deterrence purpose while peace remains the ultimate cherished goal for us. We believe that military weakness invites aggression from stronger nations," he added.

"At the same time, Pakistan does not wish to be dragged in an arms race as the socio-economic well being of our people is on the top of the present government`s agenda," Gilani said.

Noting that the world and the region were challenged by terrorism and extremism, Gilani said Pakistan, due to its geo-strategic location and shift in the regional security environment, was at the "forefront of the collective struggle against this new form of threat to world peace."

Describing terrorism as a "nameless, face-less, religion-less and region-less" threat, Gilani said Pakistan wanted the international community to support its efforts to fight the menace. "At the same time, we also expect our partners to show trust and understanding in this vital struggle," he said.

"While we fight the scourge of extremism and terrorism, we cannot be oblivious to the need of addressing the root causes that are at heart of these problems… However, a durable solution to this cancer lies in following a multi-pronged approach that on the one hand addresses the root causes and which also ensures wellbeing of people on the other," he said.

The international community could "lend a helping hand in meeting these challenges, including the peaceful settlement of longstanding disputes," Gilani said.