‘Do not take Pakistan’s nuclear capability as a bluff,’ former general warns India
LONDON: A former senior general of the Pakistan Army on Friday warned India against taking the nuclear capabilities of Pakistan lightly, saying Pakistan reserves the right to exercise all options to protect its territorial and ideological interests in case of a war-like situation.
The remarks, made by the former director-general of the Strategic Plans Division, retired Lt Gen Khalid Kidwai, were made while he gave a keynote address at a workshop held by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.
The workshop, titled South Asian Strategic Stability: Deterrence, Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control, was attended by retired Lt Gen Amir Riaz, defence expert Hassan Askari, retired Brig Nadeem Ahmed Salik and former ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi, among others.
The opening remarks of the workshop were available for public viewing, but the remaining conference was held behind closed doors for a select group of people. The discussions held during the day-long conference on nuclear deterrence in South Asia remain off the record.
“Pakistan must shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the vital strategic balance in the conventional and nuclear equation with India as the particular determinant of the state of strategic stability in South Asia,” retired general Kidwai said in his opening remarks.
In his keynote, the former general spoke in great depth about the strategic positions of both India and Pakistan in the event of further escalation between the two hostile neighbours.
“If Pakistan were to allow imbalances to be introduced in this strategic equation, South Asia would list more serious strategic instability. This, in turn, would lead to catastrophic consequences in view of India’s historically persistent and insatiable drive for regional domination, especially given India’s current irrational, unstable and belligerent internal and external policies,” he said.
The decision of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to illegally annex Kashmir, adopt a discriminatory citizenship law, and back a plan to build a temple on the site of the demolished Babri mosque has fanned concerns that Modi is marginalizing the Muslim minority in the country.
Coupled with the decisions taken above, the Indian military chief has also given a slew of irresponsible statements to the media over the past few months regarding Indian plans to target Azad Kashmir, leading to increased tensions between nuclear-armed Islamabad and New Delhi.
“While developing operational plans, the Indian planners may deliberately prefer to skirt around Pakistan’s nuclear capability and nuclear thresholds,” Kidwai said. - Agencies