ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Friday said that India’s purchase of S-400 missile system from Russia was a part of their agenda to acquire a Ballistic Missile Defence System through multiple sources.

The foreign ministry said the Indian plan would “further destabilise strategic stability in South Asia, besides leading to a renewed arms race.”

In a statement, the ministry said: “Following the May 1998 nuclear tests by both sides, Pakistan had proposed a Strategic Restraint Regime in the region, advocating against the acquisition of BMD systems due to their destabilizing effect. Indian rejection of this proposal forced Pakistan to develop capabilities which render any BMD system ineffective and unreliable. Pakistan remains fully confident of its ability to address threats from any kind of destabilizing weapon system.”

The ministry reiterated Pakistan’s commitment towards “ensuring national defence in line with the policy of maintaining credible minimum deterrence and maintaining strategic balance in the region in the future as well.”

This month, India signed the deal worth $5.43-billion to buy five Russian S-400 Triumf missile shield systems at the 19th India-Russia annual bilateral summit in Hyderabad. The agreement was signed after a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Though the United States has warned any such agreement between India and Russia could attract sanctions under the US law, the Indian government decided to go ahead with the deal.

The US has warned countries trading with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors they would face automatic sanctions under a sweeping legislation called Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act that President Donald Trump signed into law last August.

The law is designed to punish Putin for the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, ‘involvement’ in the Syrian civil war and alleged ‘meddling’ in the 2016 US presidential election.

A BMD system defends any country against possible incoming missile threat. It intercepts targets and destroys missiles en-route. Usually the radar of the BMD missile intercepts the missile from the opponent’s side, then tracks the target through command and control system and finally fires the interceptor missile from the launcher truck.  Other countries that have advanced missile system include the US, Russia and China.

Last week, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said Pakistan was against an arms race in the region but was firmly committed to maintaining credible minimum deterrence.

He said: “We are opposed to any arms race in South Asia and have been proposing measures for promoting restraint in both the nuclear and conventional domains. However, we cannot remain oblivious to these developments and are firmly committed to maintaining credible minimum deterrence through taking any measures, as necessary. Pakistan is fully confident of its ability to do so.”

Commenting on the India-Russia defence deal, the spokesperson said the countries which were providing weapons to India should make sure that this does not disturb balance of power in the region. 

Earlier, Pakistan urged Russia to enhance the defence ties as the new partners prepared to hold joint military drills ‘Friendship 2018’ this month.

Head of the Russian Southern Military District Vadim Astafyev said that Russian-Pakistani military drills will be held in the mountains of Pakistan from October 21 until November 4.

The joint drills of units of the Russian and Pakistani armed forces will be held at the training range of the National Counter-Terrorist Center in Pabbi area of the Pakistan’s Nowshera district.  More than 70 mountain shooters from Karachay-Cherkessia will take part in the drills.

Russia has already sold attack helicopters to Pakistan, signed a military cooperation pact to train Pakistani officers, and held joint training exercises.