Musharraf seeks Russia's help to resolve J&K issue
31 May 2001
The Hindustan Times
Moscow: WEEKS AHEAD of the Indo-Pak summit, Pakistan's military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf has sought Russia's mediation in dialogue with India on Kashmir. At the same time, he expressed displeasure over Moscow's "one-sided backing" of India. In an interview to leading Russian daily Izvestia, published on Thursday, Musharraf said Islamabd, which has traditionally sought US mediation on the Kashmir issue, would welcome Moscow's mediation in dialogue with India. Regretting Moscow's refusal to sell modern weapons to Islamabad, Musharraf said, "We are very much interested in Sukhoi-30 fighter planes. We have money and would like to buy them. "Unfortunately, we do not not know what is required for a change in Russia's stand of one-sided backing of India and develop relations with the people of Pakistan also." He said Islamabad was keen to improve its relations with Moscow and develop close trade and defence ties. Asked if Pakistan would carry out further nuclear tests and enhance its nuclear capabilities, Musharraf said Islamabad would continue its nuclear programme to keep pace with India. "In the first place it depends on India's stand... India's published doctrine shows that it has no desire to curb its nuclear ambitions. Therefore, we also have to take care of our own security," he said, adding, "but I would also be happy if the number of nuclear warheads in South Asia is substantially reduced". To another question, he said, he had no proof of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden's involvement in all the acts attributed to him.