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FO accuses India of preparing for limited war

November 25, 2009

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 24 Pakistan accused on Tuesday India of “preparing for a limited war” against it and asked the international community to take notice of New Delhi's “long-term intentions”.

“Major powers have a particular responsibility in this regard,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said. He was commenting on reported remarks of Indian Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, in which he had warned that a “limited war under a nuclear overhang is still very much a reality in the subcontinent”.

Gen Kapoor's statement has come at a time when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is in Washington on a state visit to the US. The peace process between India and Pakistan stalled when terrorists struck Mumbai last year.

The spokesman said in an official statement that world powers “should refrain from steps that in any manner negatively affect the strategic balance in South Asia,” adding that Gen Kapoor's remarks “only reaffirms India's dangerous and offensive nuclear doctrine”. India, the spokesman said, had long been working on the so-called “Cold Start strategy and preparing for a limited war against Pakistan” and “Gen Kapoor's statement confirms the hegemonic thrust of India's nuclear doctrine.”

Declaring that “Pakistan is fully capable of safeguarding its national sovereignty and defending its borders”, the spokesman reiterated that Pakistan as a responsible country would continue to promote peace and stability in South Asia on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Sources in the Foreign Office told Dawn that Pakistan had already conveyed its concern to India over its “limited war doctrine”. “The Indian army chief's statement has not come as a surprise for us,” said a senior official on condition of anonymity, adding that they were aware of this Indian plan.

Speaking at a seminar on the “changing nature of conflict trends and responses” in New Delhi on Monday, Gen Kapoor had reportedly said that Indian subcontinent was prone to nuclear war.

“The possibility of a limited war under a nuclear overhang is still a reality, at least in the Indian subcontinent. Along with West Asia, South Asia has gradually emerged as one of the epicentres of conflict and instability.

“Territorial disputes, provocation by proxy wars, religious fundamentalism, radical extremism, ethnic tensions and socio-economic disparities are the hallmarks of South Asia,” he said.

Sharing Gen Kapoor's viewpoint, Defence Minister A.K. Antony also reportedly “expressed concern over nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands in Pakistan”.

“Various developments in the last few months, in and around our neighbourhood, particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan, thrust South Asia to the centre-stage of sub-conventional conflict and instability,” Mr Antony said, adding “The threat of nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands remains an area of serious concern and consequences of such a situation are unimaginable”.