India should not consider surgical strikes against Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, former President Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday, insisting that Islamabad is prepared to respond to any eventuality with “full force.”
“We have maintained a force level which is adequate for deterrence. And we have the resolve to use the force if there is any danger,” he told reporters here when asked about the possibility of India carrying out surgical strikes. The country would respond to any eventuality with full force, he said ahead of his departure for the US to deliver guest lectures. “In my opinion, surgical strikes cannot be carried out in Pakistan.”
He said that threatening statements would only create tension and people should not make such statements for “political expediency”.
Replying to a question, he said the Mumbai attacks had led to war hysteria in both India and Pakistan. The former military ruler, who resigned last year to avoid impeachment by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party-led ruling coalition, refused to comment on the government’s handling of the situation in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
“Let them handle it. We expect the best,” he said.
Musharraf also rubbished the “do more” rhetoric of the US and said there was no secret understanding by his regime with America for cross-border drone attacks and military operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
“There was a clear policy that only the Pakistan Army will operate (in the tribal areas) and no other army will operate there,” he said.
“I reject the call for ‘do more’. We have sacrificed more than any other country (in the war on terror). We lost 1,500 soldiers and the same number of civilians. We arrested 600 to 700 Al Qaeda suspects, including 20 to 25 senior leaders.”
“The call for us to ‘do more’ amounts to demoralising us. This is absolutely unacceptable. They should encourage us.” Stating that the root causes of terrorism need to be addressed, Musharraf added that the time had come to resolve the Kashmir and Palestine issues.
“Political disputes like Palestine and Kashmir have to be resolved. Israel has adopted a regressive policy to deal with the issue by attacking Palestinians in Gaza. They are deteriorating the situation.
The attacks will promote terrorism. I condemn the attacks in strong terms. If you attack, the situation will become complicated. The whole world must realise this,” he said.