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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 16:56 GMT
Pakistan warning on Patriot sale
By Zaffar Abbas
BBC News, Islamabad

Pakistan has warned the US that any sale of its Patriot anti-missile system to India could plunge the region into a new crisis.

Islamabad said on Wednesday it was opposed to any kind of arms race in South Asia and would like the region to be free of any systems like Patriot.

Foreign office spokesman, Masood Khan, said he did not believe India was on the verge of purchasing Patriot.

But he said Islamabad had warned the US a sale could erode regional deterrence.

Bus service

Mr Khan said Islamabad was aware India was exploring such a purchase.


Patriot missiles are used for defence against ballistic or cruise missiles, and gained fame during the first Gulf War when used by Israel against Iraqi Scuds.

Mr Khan said if India were allowed to purchase such a system, it would start an unintended arms race in South Asia and would harm the peace process.

The spokesman said so far India and Pakistan had made considerable efforts taking the peace process forward.

These included last week's agreement to start a bus service through the Line of Control that separates Indian and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.

He said the procedure for issuing special travel permits for the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad service was being worked out.

The service - being dubbed the biggest confidence-building measure in the troubled region - is scheduled to start from 7 April.

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