Pakistan intended to use nuclear missiles against India during the 1999 Kargil war, but was sternly dissuaded by then US President Bill Clinton from doing so, claims a recently published book by two British journalists.
Award-winning Guardian reporters Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, in their book Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy, have cited in detail the conversation at a meeting between then Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif and Clinton in Washington in July 1999, at the height of the Kargil war.
<b1>The book, a detailed account of the growth of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, states: “When President Clinton met Sharif at Blair House, he asked Sharif if he knew how advanced the threat of nuclear war really was. Did he know, for example that his military was preparing to use nuclear missiles?” According to the book, Sharif simply shook his head. Sharif has subsequently repeated that he was kept in the dark about the details of the Kargil operation.
The book goes on to add that Clinton warned Sharif not to engage in any such misadventure. He said he had a statement ready for release that would pin all the blame for Kargil on Pakistan if Sharif did not abandon nuclear ambitions, or refused to pull his forces back.
Clinton also reminded Sharif that despite his promise to help bring Osama bin Laden to justice, Pakistan’s secret service continued to support him and the Taliban. Again Sharif had no answer.
Christina Lamb, who has written about Pakistan extensively, told HT: “Pakistan is a duplicitous country where civilians have no control.”