FO slams Indian home minister’s ‘delusional’ statement threatening Pakistan with surgical strikes

Oct 15, 2021 | Kashmir Coverage (General News)

The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday slammed Indian Home Minister Amit Shah’s “irresponsible and provocative” statement in which he threatened Pakistan with surgical strikes.

“This delusional statement only goes to further demonstrate the BJP-RSS combine’s propensity to stoke regional tensions for both ideological reasons and political expediency, based on enmity towards Pakistan,” FO spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said in a statement.

Earlier today, Indian media reported Shah as saying that India will carry out surgical strikes against Pakistan “if it transgresses”, adding that the time for talks was over and it was now time to “reciprocate”.

According to the Hindustan Times, the minister said that there used to be talks when India’s border came under attack, but now Delhi gives a befitting reply to terrorist attacks.

Shah made the comments while referring to the alleged surgical strike India had carried out in 2016, a claim that was rubbished by Pakistan.

“The surgical strike under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar was an important step. We sent out a message that no one can disturb India’s borders. There was a time for talks, but now is the time to reciprocate,” the report quoted Shah as saying.

According to India Today, Shah — who was addressing the foundation laying ceremony of a university in Goa’s Dharbandora — also added: “The surgical strikes proved that we don’t tolerate attacks. More will come if you transgress.”

Responding to the claims made by the Indian minister, the FO spokesperson said that such statements serve as smokescreens to divert global attention from India’s state terrorism, and systematic human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and against minorities in India.

“Pakistan has repeatedly drawn the attention of the international community to India’s sinister designs of staging ‘false flag’ operations to implicate Pakistan and Kashmiris.

“While Pakistan is a peace-loving country, we will spare no effort in resolutely thwarting any aggressive designs,” the FO spokesperson added.

Pakistan’s swift response to India’s Balakot misadventure in 2019 — including the downing of Indian combat aircraft and the capture of an Indian Air Force pilot — fully demonstrated the will, capacity and preparedness of our armed forces to deter Indian aggression, he concluded.

In 2016, at least two Pakistan Army soldiers were killed as Indian troops fired across the LoC in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian officials had claimed that surgical strikes were conducted by the Indian army on “terror launch pads along the LoC”. However, the Pakistan Army had rubbished the claims and called it a “fabrication of the truth”.

Similarly, on Feb 26, 2019, India had tried to launch a similar operation against Pakistan but had failed and two of its planes had been shot down by the Pakistan Air Force.

Timeline: Events leading up to the Feb 2019 Pak-India aerial combat

Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan, whose aircraft was downed inside Pakistani territory, was also captured but was later released by Prime Minister Imran Khan as a peace gesture.

Naveed Siddiqui | Dawn