India is calling out Pakistan’s tendency to demand the world’s attention by holding a gun to its own head, raising the bogey of a “nuclear neighbourhood”, as has been the strategy of special envoys sent by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the United States to press their case on Kashmir.
“Emphasizing that the two countries are nuclear powers and therefore there is nuclear blackmail involved is a Pakistani strategy,” finance minister Arun Jaitley told NDTV in an interview on his arrival in Washington for the annual World Bank group meetings.
That’s precisely what Sharif’s envoys, lawmakers Mushahid Hussein and Shezra Mansab Khan, have sought to do in their meetings here, specially those open to public — raise the bogey of a dangerous nuclear neighbourhood.
Arguing for urgent attention on Kashmir, Hussein said, “It’s come back with a bang and it’s more significant because you’re dealing -- as President Clinton called in 1993 -- a nuclear flash point -- potential nuclear flash point.” He was speaking at an event at Atlantic Council, a DC think tank, on Wednesday.
“(As) Two nuclear neighbours, we should learn to talk to each other rather than talk at each other.”
His colleague Khan took a similar tack at Stimson Center, another DC think-tank, on Thursday. Asked to name the single most important issue for Pakistan at present, she said, “Our core issue at this time is Kashmir. No peace can prevail if this issue is not solved.”
She went to argue it was an “international dispute and not an internal problem”, which must be resolved urgently. For emphasis, she added, “The stakes are very high. We are a nuclear neighbourhood.”
Neither Hussein nor Khan pointed out that this “nuclear neighbourhood” is keenly aware of that because of repeated threats of a nuclear war from Pakistan.
“We will destroy India if it dares to impose war on us. Pakistan army is fully prepared to answer any misadventure of India,” Pakistani defense minister Khawaja Asif said recently. “We have not made an atomic device to display in a showcase. If such a situation arises, we will use it and eliminate India.”
The Prime Minister’s special envoys, who have been largely ignored by local media, lawmakers and the administration — with no meetings on Capitol Hill or at the White House (they met Peter Lavoy at the White House on Friday) — have sought US understanding and intervention in resolving Kashmir, despite repeated rebuffs from the administration, which continued to stress, it was an issue for India and Pakistan to deal with and resolve. State department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday, “Our position (on Kashmir) has not changed. We want this to be worked out between both sides”.