Last Updated: January 25, 2023, 10:05 IST
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the US averted a possible nuclear fallout after India decimated terrorist strongholds in Pakistan’s Balakot by speaking to Pakistan’s actual leader.
Instead of speaking to members of the elected government, Pakistan’s former PM Imran Khan or the former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the US Secretary of State chose to call former Pakistan chief of the army staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
“I reached the actual leader of Pakistan, General Bajwa, with whom I had engaged many times. I told him what the Indians had told me. He said it wasn’t true,” Pompeo said in his book ‘Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love’.
Pompeo’s claims go on to show that even the US and its administrations are aware that the elected governments of Pakistan only serve a titular role while real decisions are taken by the army.
Pompeo claimed that Indian officials and their Pakistani counterparts were convinced that both sides were preparing for a nuclear war as Pakistan was angered that India eliminated terrorist strongholds after entering its airspace.
Newspaper Hindustan Times and news agency Reuters also in their reports from March 2019 said that India and Pakistan came very close to firing missiles at each other in February 2019. India warned Pakistan of strong measures if Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman was harmed.
MiG-21 Bison pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan’s forces after he downed a Pakistan F-16 which was aiming to launch an assault on Indian positions.
Pakistan, enraged that its state-supported terrorist camps were attacked, had launched tit-for-tat strikes in response to the Balakot airstrikes.
MiG-21 Bison pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistani officers but he was released after India launched a diplomatic effort and warned Pakistan of harsh measures.
In his book, Pompeo claimed that he along with US national security adviser John Bolton, Kenneth Juster, US ambassador to India at that time and other senior officials worked round the clock to ensure there was no such fallout.
Whether there is truth behind Pompeo’s claims could not be ascertained but reports by the Hindustan Times from 2019 indicate that NSA Ajit Doval told the United States that India was ready to escalate its offensive if the Abhinandan was harmed. It also said that Pakistan was warned as the Indian Army installed 12 short-range surface-to-surface missile batteries in Rajasthan.
Read all the Latest News here