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‘India turned us into a nuclear power’

world Updated: May 21, 2008 01:47 IST
Amit Baruah
Amit Baruah
Hindustan Times
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The credit for Pakistan becoming a nuclear weapons’ power goes to India, Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister at the time of the May 1998 test, told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview on Monday.

“The credit for our detonations goes to India. India actually made Pakistan a nuclear power. Both the blame and the credit goes to India…” Sharif said ahead of the 10th anniversary of the tests. “I was surprised that all of a sudden this (test) has happened: what was the need? But it also gave us an opportunity (laughs) to test our own nuclear devices. Actually, we didn’t want to do that. But then India gave us the honour.”

Sharif was clear that his survival as PM would have been difficult had he not opted for the tit-for-tat tests. He felt the May-July 1999 Kargil war could have happened even without Pakistan’s new nuclear umbrella. “I don’t think the ones who undertook this misadventure (Kargil) had this thing in mind. Perhaps, they didn’t have the mind to calculate that,” he said in an obvious reference to his military chief Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf, he said, did a U-turn in his India policy after 9/11. “He (Musharraf) is a man who is very shifty in his policy and decisions,” Sharif insisted.