FO reminds India of its ‘defence limitations’ in response to Indian air chief’s remarks

Published October 9, 2020
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri speaks during a weekly media briefing. — DawnNewsTV
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri speaks during a weekly media briefing. — DawnNewsTV

Pakistan on Friday termed as "irresponsible" a statement by the Indian air force chief about India being ready for a “two-front war” with China and Pakistan, saying he should keep in mind his country's "defence limitations".

Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, India Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria had claimed that India was fully prepared for a two-front war.

“We are ready and very well-positioned to take on China and there is no scenario where they can get the better of us," he was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Analyse: India’s two fronts

Referring to a "collusive threat" on India's northern and western borders, Bhadauria said India was fully prepared to meet all contingencies, including a simultaneous two-front war with China and Pakistan. “We are aware they are cooperating closely. There is significant threat. But so far there is no such indication that they are colluding for a two-front war,” Bhadauria said.

Responding to these claims during a weekly press briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said "such provocative statements are a true reflection of [the] RSS-BJP mindset, a dangerous mix of extremist ideology and hegemonic designs."

He said it was "ironic" that certain senior Indian political and military leaders continued to "make a career out of issuing provocative statements against Pakistan" at the cost of putting regional peace as well as India’s own security at risk.

"While making such braggadocio, the Indian air force chief must not forget India’s defence limitations, so embarrassingly exposed to the world, first during its misadventure in Balakot and more recently in Ladakh," he said, referring to India's months-long stand-off with China along its northern frontier.

Chaudhri asked India not to underestimate the resolve of the Pakistani nation and the preparedness of its armed forces against any "ill-conceived misadventure by India".

"In the interest of peace and prosperity in South Asia, India must abandon its third century ‘Chanakya Doctrine’ and adopt the 21st century model of regional peace and development," the FO spokesman added.

Last month, Pakistan had strongly condemned similar remarks by Indian chief of defence staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat, in which he threatened Pakistan with "heavy losses" if it attempted to take advantage of India's ongoing border conflict with China.

In a statement, the FO had asked Gen Rawat to focus on his job instead of making provocative statements and "pointless accusations" against India's neighbours.

Referring to cooperation between Pakistan and China, the FO had said: "We are ‘All-Weather Strategic Co-operative Partners’ and remain committed to promoting peace, stability and development in the region."

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