Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Wednesday said Pakistan is open to using ‘tactical devices’ against India should it feel threatened by its neighbouring country. The minister said this in an interview to Pakistan news channel SAMAA.
In an edited version of the interview, put out by the news channel on its website, the minister is heard saying: “Tactical weapons joh hain, joh hamne yeh progammes develop kiya hua hai, yeh apne hifazat ke liye develop kiya hua hai. Hamne devices jo hain just as showpieces toh nahin rakhe hue. Lekin agar hamare salamati ko khatra hua, toh hum nestanabhut kar denge unko (Tactical weapons, our programmes that we have developed, they have been developed for our protection. We haven’t kept the devices that we have just as showpieces. But if our safety is threatened, we will annihilate them (India).”
His response comes a day after India, in a demarche, summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and handed over proof that the Uri attackers originated from across the LoC.
Meanwhile, speaking to The Associated Press, Asif said once Kashmir gains ‘independence’ India will disintegrate. “When the freedom movement in Kashmir succeeds, it will be beginning of the end of India,” he said. Asif said the sacrifices of Kashmiri people will not be in vain and that “India will disintegrate and it will not remain united” when Kashmir gains independence.
He also claimed that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had tried to improve ties with India, but “we did not get a positive response from them.”
This, however, is not the first time that Asif has claimed that Pakistan is ready to attack India. In August 2015, state-run Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying that India will suffer “heavy losses” which it would “remember for decades” if it tries to “impose” a war on Pakistan. His remarks came at a time when tensions were high at the LoC and Pakistan called-off foreign secretary-level talks following India’s stand that a discussion on Kashmir was off the table and a meeting with Separatists won’t be acceptable.
“If India tries to impose war on Pakistan, heavy losses will be inflicted on India which it will remember for decades,” he had then said.
India has, with evidence, blamed Pakistan-based terrorists for the attack at the Uri army base that killed 19 Indian soldiers.
Asif, however, claimed that no proof implicating Pakistan in the Uri attack had surfaced yet, telling DawnNews that “it was evident the attack was a plan devised by India itself.” One of the four terrorists involved in the Uri attack has been identified as Hafiz from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Asif claimed that the “entire world knows now that India is not as serious about resolving the Kashmir dispute as Pakistan is”.
A report by Greg Thielmann and David Logan of the Princeton University highlights the arms race in the region. The report claims that while India has 118 warheads, Pakistan has 130. And China has 180 — 263 if the DF-26 waiting dismantlement is included.
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