Islamabad, June 10 : In a bid to seek peace with neighbours, particularly India, Pakistan has decided to freeze its defence spending in the coming budget at last year's estimates, said the country's Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.
The PM said that he expected reciprocal gestures from the neighbouring countries.
Gilani also categorically stated that Pakistan stood for peace with honour and shall continue to strive for it without compromising its national interests. He declared that Pakistan's defence was based on the strategy of minimum essential and credible deterrence and it would not enter into an arms race.
"We have decided to freeze, actually reduce, the defence budget when seen in the context of inflation and the rupee-dollar parity and we hope to see a reciprocal gesture from our neighbours for peace and prosperity of the region," The News quoted him as saying in a policy statement in the National Assembly on Monday.
The prime minister announced that his government had also decided to present the defence budget estimates in a format reflecting the estimated expenditure under major heads. "Presently the budget of three services, ordnance factories and other defence organisations is presented as a one line allocation and after approval of the budget, the Ministry of Defence apportions allocations of three services and other defence organisations. But it has now been decided to present the defence budget estimates in a format reflecting estimates of expenditure under major heads in parliament," he added.
The prime minister informed the House that the ministry of defence and the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) had fully endorsed the revised format of the defence services budget estimates. The prime minister pointed out that Pakistan is located in a geo-strategically important and turbulent region and its citizens were living in a volatile environment. "Therefore, we cannot afford to remain oblivious to our defence needs," he added.