Washington: The United States has strongly objected to threats of nuclear warfare made by Pakistan against India and has conveyed its displeasure to that country in this regard. “We made that (American objection on nuclear threat) clear to them (Pakistan). Repeatedly,” a senior State Department official said.
The official who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, would not reveal the level at which the message was conveyed to Pakistan. “It is very concerning. It is a serious thing,” the official said when asked about Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s assertions, twice in the last 15 days, that his country could use nuclear weapons against India.
“We will destroy India if it dares to impose war on us,” Asif had told a Pakistani news channel in his latest interview. “Pakistan army is fully prepared to answer any misadventure of India. We have not made atomic device to display in a showcase. If a such a situation arises we will use it (nuclear weapons) and eliminate India,” Asif had said.
The statements raised eyebrows in the Obama Administration and is seen as “irresponsible” behaviour by top Pakistani leadership. In a tacit acknowledgement that it has concerns over the safety of nuclear weapons in Pakistan, the official said the US is closely monitoring the safety and security of those weapons of mass destruction.
“The safety of these weapons is always a concern for us. So we are always monitoring it, regardless of what they said on this particular occasion,” said the State Department official.
Meanwhile, Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at his daily news conference that nuclear-capable states have “a very clear responsibility to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities”.
Earlier, US had condemned the attack on Uri in Kashmir and urged Pakistan and India to diffuse tensions. Closer home, China has also urged both countries to cool the tensions.