Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said Saturday (January 13) that Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat's remarks about Pakistan amount to "invitation for nuclear encounter".
Asif was reacting to
Rawat's Wednesday remark that
his forces are ready to call Pakistan's "nuclear bluff" and cross the
border to carry out any operation if asked by the government.
"We will call the (nuclear) bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff."
Gen. Rawat was responding to a question during a press conference on possibility of Pakistan using its nuclear weapons in case the situation along the border deteriorates.
Reacting to the statement, Asif wrote on Twitter: "Very irresponsible statement by Indian Army Chief, not befitting his office. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter. If that is what they desire, they are welcome to test our resolve. The general's doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah."
At the same time, the Pakistan Army on Saturday warned India against any misadventure, asserting that the country's nuclear weapons were exclusively meant to foil any threat emanating from the east.
Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said: "Well, it's their choice. Should they wish to test our resolve they may try and see it for themselves."
Asserting that India was not in a position to launch a conventional war after over-nuclearisation, Ghafoor said Pakistan had credible nuclear capability exclusively meant to foil any threat emanating from the east.
"But we believe it's a weapon of deterrence not a choice. The only thing stopping them is our credible nuclear deterrence as there is no space of war between the two nuclear states," he said.
Ghafoor said India was unsuccessfully targeting Pakistan through sub-conventional threats and state-sponsored terrorism because it could not subdue Pakistan through conventional engagement following overt nuclearisation in the region.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday (January 14) stressed that the Indian army chief's statements on 'calling Pakistan's nuclear bluff' prove that "India is an irresponsible nuclear state".
"Nuclear weapons are not pistols or slingshots, they are weapons of mass destruction. Therefore people expect nuclear powers to behave responsibly," he said.
Iqbal raised questions over the possibility of Indian inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, given the "irresponsible" statements made.
"What do the Indian army chief and [US President Donald] Trump's statements indicate?" he asked. "That external attempts are being made to pressure Pakistan."
On the other hand, Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said the "statement by the Indian army chief is representative of a sinister mindset that has taken hold of India. Pakistan has demonstrated deterrence capability."