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Pakistan concerned over Indian defense budget increase: minister

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 9, IRNA -- Pakistan Information Minister Sheikh 
Rashid Ahmed said on Friday Islamabad is "concerned" but not worried 
over the increase in the Indian defense budget. 
"Billions of rupees increase in Indian defense budget was not 
understandable because of the security environment in the region," 
the official told a news conference in Islamabad. 
India announced a 770-billion-rupees defense budget on Thursday, 
a 23 percent increase from the previous year. 
He said that despite the increase in the defense budget and the 
statements of some Indian leaders, Pakistan wants to continue the 
dialogue process to resolve all outstanding issues amicably. 
"India is enjoying good relations with China and relations with 
Pakistan are also improving," he added. 
"Pakistan is fully alive to its defense needs and would not allow 
any imbalance in this connection," Sheikh Rashid said, adding that 
Pakistan would not indulge in an arms race. 
"Pakistan will continue to take forward its missile program," 
he said, referring to a statement of Pakistani President General 
Pervez Musharraf which said that Islamabad will conduct another 
missile test in the next two months. 
Replying to a question, the minister said the fencing by India 
of its side of the Line of Control in Kashmir was "illegal" and 
against the UN Charter. 
"Pakistan has already asked India to refrain from this illegal 
act." 
The international community knows that Kashmir is a disputed 
territory and should be resolved through UN resolutions and in 
accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people, he told reporters. 
TK/TSH/2321/1432 



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