Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday threatened Pakistan with a “befitting reply again” if it continues to sponsor terrorism, the tough talk coming a day after the US bluntly told Islamabad to stop its rhetoric on nuking India.
Parrikar’s warning came two days after New Delhi said Indian forces carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control — the de facto border between the two countries in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian strike was in response to a militant attack on an army camp at Uri that left 18 soldiers dead.
Pakistan has no idea what happened because its condition is like that of an “anaesthetised patient” post-surgery, who has no idea what has happened, the minister said at Pauri in Uttarakhand. Islamabad has denied New Delhi’s claims about conducting surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
PM Narendra Modi met President Pranab Mukherjee and is understood to have briefed him about the surgical strikes.
According to TV reports, Parrikar gave an analogy of Lord Rama, the protagonist in the epic Ramayana, who won Lanka and gave it to Vibhishana.
“We did the same in Bangladesh. We do not want to harm anyone, but if someone harms us, a befitting reply will be given…Lord Hanuman did not know of his powers before going to Lanka, I made our armed forces realise their power,” he was quoted as saying.
India was instrumental in the bifurcation of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Parrikar’s tough talk against Pakistan comes when New Delhi’s diplomatic encirclement of Pakistan seems to be paying off. The international community, including Pakistan’s traditional allies, has maintained a studied silence on India’s surgical strikes, while underscoring the need to act against terrorism, indirectly bracketing Pakistan.
In a blunt message delivered publicly on Friday, the United States told the Pakistani government to “exercise restraint” regarding the use of nuclear weapons, or the talk about it.
“I would just say nuclear-capable states have a very clear responsibility to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities,” US state department spokesman Mark Toner said at the daily briefing in response to a question, about “some of the rhetoric from the Pakistani government”.
“And that’s my message publicly and that’s certainly our message directly to the Pakistani authorities,” he added.
On Monday, Pakistan’s defence minister Khawaja Asif had threatened to “destroy India” in the event of a war.
“We have not made an atomic device to display in a showcase. If such a situation arises we will use it and eliminate India,” he told a TV channel, raising alarm in capitals around the world already worried about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of terrorists.
On Saturday, Indian army chief General Dalbir Singh also reviewed military preparedness at the northern and western borders. He visited the Udhampur-based Northern Command and interacted with the special forces men who destroyed seven terror launch pads in PoK, killing at least 35 terrorists and their handlers.
He later visited the Chandimandir-based Western Command to take stock of the army’s readiness along the Punjab border.
(With inputs form HT Correspondent, New Delhi)