India warned against misjudging defence capabiliy

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Saturday warned India against misjudging Pakistan’s defence capabilities.

“There must not be any miscalculation about Pakistan’s resolve to defend itself and thwart any aggression,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said.

The spokesperson was giving Islamabad’s reaction to a statement by Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in which he had warned Pakistan of a strong response in six months to what he called Pakistan’s involvement in recent attacks on Indian forces in held Kashmir. The attacks left 11 Indian security personnel and two civilians dead.

“I feel that there has to be some strong response which will once and for all reduce these blatant attempts. You will see the developments in the next six months...We have to ultimately teach those who are rogue a proper lesson,” the Indian minister said, without elaborating on the “hard measures” the Indian government was contemplating in the days ahead.

The minister was replying to questions at a media function. The Indian ministry of external affairs had earlier this week alleged that Pakistan was “mainstreaming terror through its inaction” against groups like Jamaatud Dawa.

Mr Parrikar repeated those allegations: “It’s an open secret that they (militants) came from Pakistan.” The defence minister had visited India-held Kashmir on Thursday.

Tasnim Aslam, while denying the Indian allegations, said these unfounded charges and provocative statements were not conducive to peace in the region.

Our Correspondent in New Delhi adds: Asked to share the Indian government’s thinking in view of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons capability, Mr Parrikar was quoted as saying: “Nuclear doctrine asks us to maintain restraint...I am not talking of a full-scale war. Full-scale war is totally different. But if there are places where you get the terrorists across, there are people who do it. I think those people will have to be brought under pressure.”

Mr Parrikar said his immediate priority was to ensure proper equipment and support to the Indian armed forces and towards this end the government would come out with “a clear-cut” policy next month on the employment of “representatives” by armament companies as well as nuanced blacklisting norms, the Times of India quoted the minister as saying.

But it was on Pakistan that Mr Parrikar was particularly voluble, stressing the need to take “preventive measures” rather than just being defensive. “We need not wait for someone to attack...I just want to say that when they tried we have retaliated. This year, the total number of neutralised terrorists is 102 as compared to 66 last year,” he said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, too, had warned Pakistan of “unaffordable” consequences if it continued with its “misadventures” like firing on civilian populations along the border.

Last week, India’s foreign ministry spokesman accused Pakistan of supporting Hafiz Saeed, who, according to Delhi, was the Mumbai terrorist attacks mastermind.

Published in Dawn December 14th , 2014

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