India and Pakistan were on the brink of nuclear war after the Balakot airstrike in 2019. This is what former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed in a book published on Tuesday. He also claimed that the situation came under control due to US intervention. News from AFP.
Donald Trump’s top diplomat and former CIA chief Pompeo wrote in his memoir ‘Never Give an Inch’, ‘I don’t think the world correctly knows that India-Pakistan hostilities erupted into a nuclear conflagration in February 2019.’
In February 2019, India carried out unprecedented airstrikes inside Pakistani territory after a terrorist group was blamed for a suicide bombing that killed 41 CRPF jawans in the Indian part of Kashmir.
India shot down an F-16 fighter jet in an airstrike at that time. On the other hand, Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter jet and the pilot was captured by them.
Pompeo, who is in Hanoi for a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said he was awakened by an emergency call from a senior Indian official.
Pompeo wrote, ‘He believed the Pakistanis had begun preparing their nuclear weapons for attack. He told me that India is thinking of its own growth. I asked him not to do anything and to give us a minute to sort things out.’
Pompeo also said US diplomats had convinced both India and Pakistan that neither was preparing to go nuclear. No other nation could have done what we did that night to avoid a dire outcome. Pakistan ‘may have enabled Kashmir invasion’.
Pompeo spoke to then army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the “real leader of Pakistan”, pointing to the weakness of the civilian government.
Pompeo at the time publicly defended India’s right to work. In his book, Pompeo spoke highly of India and, unlike officials in New Delhi, made no secret of his desire to ally with South Asian democracies to ‘counter Chinese aggression’.
After Pakistan, India tested a nuclear bomb in 1998. Then-US President Bill Clinton later said Kashmir was ‘the most dangerous place in the world.’