WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s recent efforts to forge closer diplomatic ties with China and Russia does not represent the start of “a zero sum game” with Washington, said Pakistani ambassador to the United States.

Islamabad’s ties to Washington remains “one of critical importance” to the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry while talking to reporters on Friday. Ongoing outreach between the Chinese and Russian governments and a key American ally in Southwest Asia is not only in Pakistan’s interest, but also in the interest of the U.S., said Mr. Chaudhry.

Pakistan’s ties with China, which include making several economic zones in Pakistan, are already attracting investment interest from Europe and the U.S., and should be seen as a bridge rather than a barrier to U.S. – Pak relations, Mr. Chaudhry said. “We can serve as that bridge,” he added.

Calling Pakistan’s growing linkages with Beijing as beneficial to the international community, the country’s overtures toward Russia are steeped in preserving Islamabad’s regional interests.

Allegations by U.S. European Command Chief Gen. Mike Scaparrotti that Russia is providing material support to the Taliban, coupled with Moscow’s military aggressiveness in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, leads Washington to be wary of Pakistan’s efforts.

Mr. Chaudhry said that Islamabad is reaching out to all possible allies in the region, in order to maintain diplomatic stability with all its neighbors. Lumping Russia into that group, “why should we stop” reaching out to Moscow, he said.

Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that Pakistani leadership, security forces and the people of Pakistan are united in fight against terrorism.

He said that peace has returned all across the length and breadth of the country after success in fight against terrorism. He further said that improved security situation and the economic reforms have led to a revival of the economy in the country.

Answering a question Aizaz Chaudhry said that the solution for peace and stability in Afghanistan lies in negotiations and political stability. He further said that Pakistan wants good relations with India. He said that there is a need for meaningful dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve all issues.

Amabassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that all stakeholders were taken into confidence before launching Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad against terrorism. He said that the Pakistani nation and security forces are determined to uproot terrorism from the country.

“Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad was launched to bring the remaining terrorists to their logical end,” he said. The ambassador stated that Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan yielded positive results.”

Commenting on the political situation in South Asia, he said Pakistan wants friendly bilateral ties with the neighbouring country, adding that terrorists and extremists take advantage of the delay in negotiation process.