Saturday, July 20, 2024
HomeNews ReportsFormer US Secretary of State Pompeo: 'Pakistan was preparing for nuclear attack after Balakot...

Former US Secretary of State Pompeo: ‘Pakistan was preparing for nuclear attack after Balakot surgical strike,’ says US worked to sort things out

“I do not think the world properly knows just how close the India-Pakistan rivalry came to spilling over into a nuclear conflagration in February 2019. The truth is, I don’t know precisely the answer either; I just know it was too close,” Pompeo writes.

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted that he was roused to speak with his then-Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, who informed him that Pakistan was making preparations for a nuclear attack in the aftermath of the Balakot surgical strike in February 2019, and that India was making preparations for an appropriate response.

Pompeo writes in his new book, ‘Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love,’ which was released on Tuesday, that the event occurred while he was in Hanoi for the US-North Korea Summit on February 27-28, and that his team worked for 24 hrs with both New Delhi and Islamabad to mitigate the crisis.

“I do not think the world properly knows just how close the India-Pakistan rivalry came to spilling over into a nuclear conflagration in February 2019. The truth is, I don’t know precisely the answer either; I just know it was too close,” Pompeo writes.

In reaction to the Pulwama terror attack, India’s warplanes bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training centre in Balakot, Pakistan, in February 2019. Pompeo said hat he would never forget the night he was in Hanoi, Vietnam, when India and Pakistan began threatening one other over a generations-long dispute over Kashmir’s northern border area.

“After an Islamist terrorist attack in Kashmir- probably enabled in part by Pakistan’s lax counterterror policies – killed forty Indians, India responded with an air strike against terrorists inside Pakistan. The Pakistanis shot down a plane in a subsequent dogfight and kept the Indian pilot prisoner,” he said.

In the book that was released on Tuesday, the former US Secretary said, “In Hanoi, I was awakened to speak with my Indian counterpart. He believed the Pakistanis had begun to prepare their nuclear weapons for a strike. India, he informed me, was contemplating its own escalation. I asked him to do nothing and give us a minute to sort things out.” He also wrongly referred to Swaraj as ‘he’.

He mentioned that he worked with Ambassador (then National Security Advisor John) Bolton, who was with him in the tiny secure communications facility at their hotel. “I reached the actual leader of Pakistan, (Army chief) General (Qamar Javed) Bajwa, with whom I had engaged many times. I told him what the Indians had told me. He said it wasn’t true,” he claimed.

“As one might expect, he believed the Indians were preparing their nuclear weapons for deployment. It took us a few hours and remarkably good work by our teams on the ground in New Delhi and Islamabad to convince each side that the other was not preparing for nuclear war,” he wrote in the book.

While the Ministry of External Affairs has made no comments in the matter, Pompeo says that no other nation could have done what US did that night to avoid a horrible outcome. “As with all diplomacy, the people working the problem set matter a great deal, at least in the short run. I was fortunate to have great team members in place in India, none more so than Ken Juster, an incredibly capable ambassador. Ken loves India and its people,” he noted.

He also praised other diplomats including David Hale who was the US ambassador to Pakistan then. Pompeo said that the diplomats knew that their relationship with India was a priority. “General McMaster and Admiral Philip Davidson, the head of what came to be renamed the US Indo-Pacific Command, understood India’s importance, too,” he said.

“Although often frustrated by the Indians, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, a brilliant trade negotiator and a Bob Dole staff alumnus, making him a near-Kansan was a great partner working to deepen economic ties. We all shared the view that America had to make a bold strategic effort to tighten our ties with India and break the mold with new ideas,” Pompeo writes in his book.

Join OpIndia's official WhatsApp channel

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Recently Popular

- Advertisement -