RAWALPINDI: Responding to the Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat’s remark that his country was ready to call Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff”, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Saturday said India should not harbour any illusion about Pakistan's defence capability, as it was exclusively meant to neutralise threat from east.
Gen Bipin Rawat Friday said the Indian Army would not hesitate to cross the Pakistani border to carry out an operation if ordered by the government, Hindustan Times reported.
“We will call the (nuclear) bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff,” Gen Rawat was quoted as saying.
Talking to state-run TV, Director General ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor termed General Bipin’s statement "irresponsible" and "unbecoming" of a four-star general serving as the chief of army staff.
Asked what would be Pakistan's response if India resorted to any such misadventure, Gen Ghafoor said: "Should they [India] wish to test our resolve, they may try and see it for themselves. We have a credible nuclear capability exclusive[ly] meant for threat[s] from [the] East." He said Pakistan considered its nuclear capability a "weapon of deterrence" and not an option for war.
He said India was unsuccessfully targeting Pakistan through sub-conventional threats and state-sponsored terrorism because it could not subdue Pakistan through conventional engagement following overt nuclearisation in the region.
“If India could overpower us through conventional engagement post overt nuclearization, they could have done it by now.
"[The] only thing stopping them is our credible nuclear deterrence, as there is no space of war between the two nuclear states," he said.
He said Pakistan was a responsible nuclear state with a professional army; therefore, India must not remain in illusion.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said India may test Pakistan’s resolve if that is what it wishes to do.
“Very irresponsible statement by Indian Army Chief, not befitting his office. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter. If that is what they (India) desire, they are welcome to test our resolve. The general’s doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah,” Asif tweeted.
Following Asif’s remarks, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal also took the issue to Twitter.
“The threatening and irresponsible statement by the Indian Army Chief today is representative of a sinister mindset that has taken hold of India. Pakistan has demonstrated deterrence capability,” he tweeted from his personal handle.
“These are not issues to be taken lightly. There must not be any misadventure based on miscalculation. Pakistan is fully capable of defending itself,” he said in a second tweet.