ISLAMABAD - The Foreign Office yesterday said it would never accept pressure about the country’s nuclear programme and reiterated its stance that Pakistan as a responsible state had developed the progarmme as deterrence based on its national defence strategy.

“Pakistan has the right to take steps whatever it deems appropriate for its defence”, Feign Office Spoksman Qazi Khalilullah told the weekly press briefing. The spokesman regretted India was increasing the conventional arms imbalance in the region by acquiring the latest weapons from across the world.

Responding to a question about the ongoing purchase of weapons by India, he said Pakistan had repeatedly stressed that conventional imbalance would aggravate situation in the region. He asserted strategic stability in the region was vital for peace and stability.

He also urged the international community to take notice of terrorist activities of Indian Hindu extremist group, Shiv Sena. He reiterated Pakistan’s concerns over its activities.

Referring to the ongoing Zarb-e-Azb operation, the spokesman said there was a positive feedback as Pakistan was taking action against all groups of terrorists, without making any distinction between good and bad terrorists. He said the world at large had acknowledged the success of the operation and its results.

He termed terrorism a threat to the world peace and said the international community needed to adopt a cooperative approach to counter the threat. About Pakistan-Saudi Arabia defence ties, he said the two countries had a wide-ranging cooperation in many areas, including defence and security. He said the joint military exercises between the two countries had focused on anti-terrorism training of their special forces. He voiced Pakistan’s deep concerns over the increasing threats to regional peace and stability in Palestine and Middle East, adding Pakistan wanted political settlement of Syrian issue in a peaceful manner through dialogue and according to the aspirations of the people of the country. Commenting on growing ties between Pakistan and Russia, he cited the recent inking of an agreement to construct a two billion US dollars gas pipeline project from Karachi to Lahore. He said the two countries were cooperating in many areas and hoped their ties would further expand with the planned visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Pakistan.

Denying any footprints of Daesh in Pakistan, the spokesman said Pakistan was also cooperating with Afghanistan in countering terrorism and, if needed, the two countries could undertake a coordinated action.

About reconciliation in Afghanistan, he said Pakistan was supportive of the dialogue process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. and it was in this regard that it hosted their meeting in Pakistan. He said Pakistan wanted peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan wants strong ties with Iran in all fields of mutual interest. Withdrawal of sanctions on Iran will open new opportunities and increase interaction between the two countries. The deep seaports of Chahbahar and Gwadar should complement each other,” he concluded.