Last thing Pakistan wants is world divided into blocs: PM Imran Khan

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan wants to establish trading relations with all other countries to lift people out of poverty rather than becoming part of any bloc, Prime Minister Imran Khan said. Ahead of his visit to Moscow, the premier gave an exclusive interview with Russia Today (RT), reiterating that the last thing that Pakistan wants “is the world divided into blocs.” The PM will leave for Moscow on a two-day official visit tomorrow. This is the first visit of any Pakistani premier in the last 23 years. During the interview, the premier noted that greater cooperation between the US, China and Russia will benefit everybody much more than the conflict. Underscoring the need for a peaceful solution to the Ukraine issue, PM Imran Khan reiterated that military conflicts do not solve problems. He said: “Pakistan wants to strengthen bilateral relations with Russia,” adding that he looks forward to his Moscow visit. “Pakistan is a gas deficient country,” he highlighted, stating that the country’s North-South Gas pipeline has suffered a delay because of the US sanctions on the Russian company “we were negotiating for the construction of the pipeline.” He further added the lifting of sanctions on Iran will also help Pakistan get the cheapest gas from the neighbouring country. Replying to a question regarding relations with India, the premier said his government immediately reached out to India after coming to power in order to resolve the outstanding Kashmir dispute.  He, however, regretted that India has adopted a “racist ideology inspired by Nazis”.PM Imran Khan said he would like to have a televised debate with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to resolve differences between the two neighbours. The nuclear-powered rivals have shared antagonistic relations since gaining independence 75 years ago, fighting three wars, with ties strained recently over the northern Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, which both claim in full. “I would love to debate with Narendra Modi on TV,” Khan told Russia Today, adding that it would be beneficial for the billion people in the subcontinent if differences could be resolved through debate. India’s Ministry of External Affairs did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. “India became a hostile country so trade with them became minimal,” Khan said, stressing his government’s policy was to have trade relations with all countries.

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