Pakistan warns of 'dire consequences' if India targets its nukes

06 October 2017

Pakistan's foreign minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif on Thursday warned of "dire consequences" if India targets its nuclear installations in a surgical strike, saying ''nobody should expect restraint'' from Pakistan in such an eventuality.

Asif's remarks were in response to Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa's comment on Wednesday that if India needed to carry out a surgical strike, its aircraft could target Pakistan's nuclear installations and destroy them.

"Yesterday, the Indian air chief said they will hit, through another surgical strike, Pakistan's nuclear installations. If that happens, nobody should expect restraint from us. That's the most diplomatic language I can use," media reported Asif as saying.

Asif's remarks came during a talk at the US Institute of Peace in Washington.

The Pakistan foreign minister, who is in Washington on a three-day official visit, met US National Security Adviser Gen H R McMaster on Thursday, a day after he held wide-ranging talks with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

While both Islamabad and Washinton have described the Asif-Tillerson talks as "positive" and "useful", the Foreign Minister indicated that his meeting with McMaster was not as friendly as the earlier meeting.

"I will not be extravagant, yesterday's meeting went very well, today's meeting with Gen McMaster in the morning, I would be a bit cautious about it. But it was good. It was good. It wasn't bad," Asif said.

On Tuesday, Washington had made it clear that its patience with Pakistan was wearing thin, with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis saying the United States would try ''one more time'' to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan before President Donald Trump would turn to options to address Islamabad's support for militant groups (See: US gives Pakistan ''one more chance'' to stop hurting India, others).

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