Accusing India of an arms build-up, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said Pakistan will be compelled to respond with counter-measures to retain “credible deterrence”.
Also, having failed once again to secure US mediation, Sharif pleaded, in a speech at a DC think tank, for greater attention from Washington to Pakistan’s “views and interests”.
Calling the India-Pakistan relationship a “most difficult and urgent challenge”, Sharif said “a close review of some of the existing assumptions and analysis and greater attention to Pakistan’s views and interests would be useful in enabling Washington to play a constructive role in averting the ever-present danger of escalation”.
Portraying himself as a peacemaker who went to India for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing in, Sharif painted a picture of India as the confrontational foe that cancelled talks, violated ceasefire along the border and followed it up with “a stream of hostile statements”.
“While refusing dialogue, India is engaged in a major arms build-up, regrettably with the active assistance of several powers. It has adopted dangerous military doctrines. This will compel Pakistan to take several counter measures to preserve credible deterrence,” Sharif said.
A senior Pakistani official said earlier this week in the build-up to the Obama-Sharif meeting that Pakistan’s battlefield tactical nuclear weapons were aimed at offsetting India’s “cold start” military doctrine of lightning fast, all-in offensive using its overwhelming conventional warfare advantage. That was the context to Sharif’s reference to “credible deterrence”.
At the same time, as mentioned before, he warned of the “ever-present danger of escalation”, for which he sought US mediation. He raised Pakistan’s disputes with India with President Barack Obama on Thursday, and sought US mediation in resolving them, as have other Pakistani leaders before.
But he was told, according to a senior Obama administration official, “we would be engaged only if this is something that India and Pakistan would like...This has been a reiteration of the continued policy of the United states for both countries to work out these issues bilaterally and of course we and other countries would be willing to provide facilitating and other supporting role if India and Pakistan together ask for”.