Now is not the time to whip up war clouds, said a Pakistani daily that described India showing the long range nuclear missile Agni V at its Republic Day parade as an "unsettling display of muscle flexing".
An editorial in the Daily Times Monday said: "In an unsettling display of muscle
flexing, neighbouring India paraded its newest long range nuclear missile Agni V that reportedly can hit anywhere in China and even as far off as some areas in Europe."
"The occasion was India’s Republic Day and it was marked by a barely diplomatic choice of words when Indian President Pranab Mukherjee stated that India was ready to extend the hand of friendship to Pakistan but that the friendship should not be `taken for granted'," it added.
That Pranab Mukherjee should "speak so harshly and hastily after the recent hostilities at the Line of Control (LoC) is surprising".
India-Pakistan relations took a hit after New Delhi accused Pakistani troops of brutally killing two Indian soldiers close to the LoC Dec 8 and beheading one of them. The chopped head was carried away.
Pakistan accused Indian troops of killing two Pakistani soldiers on two separate days.
"It is also extremely alarming that the Indian president decided to use such deliberately scorching words on the day his country was exhibiting a mighty nuclear weapon - intimidation or threat? This particular statement highlights the growing concern about the nuclear arms race in the region, especially between two neighbours as bitterly divided in the past as Pakistan and India," said the daily.
It went on to say that the peace process that the two countries laboured so meticulously over after a tense silence following the Mumbai attacks in 2008 is "an effort that must be nurtured and seen through".
"Just getting both countries to the table, willing to approach their respective issues with ears and minds open is achievement enough. Seeing it through is the real challenge. And it is this challenge that many of the detractors of the peace process wish to sabotage in any way possible," it added.
The daily stressed that the Indian authorities should look into the possibility that non-state actors may have carried out the attack on their soldiers.
"Those who have a stake in the peace process and composite dialogue between India and Pakistan must understand that maturity, humility and a real commitment to preserving the delicate balance needs to exist if non-state actors are to be defeated.
"A bilateral settlement between both sides must be initiated instead of the blame game that is being touted. Now is not the time to whip up war clouds because, if real, effective communication is not established, then the bigger picture is lost."