President Musharraf of Pakistan recently said that during the last India/Pakistan crisis, he was perfectly willing to use nukes if any Indian soldier crossed the line into Pakistan.


“I personally conveyed messages to (Indian) Prime Minister Vajpayee through every international leader who came to Pakistan, that if Indian troops moved a single step across the international border or Line of Control, they should not expect a conventional war from Pakistan,” he told Pakistani Air Force veterans .


Musharraf differs from many of his countrymen in the fact that he is not completely nuts. I think over the last year he has shown himself to be the type who realizes that certain elements in his country must be appeased if he is to remain in power, and the point (at least to a certain extent) of his remaining in power is to actually help Pakistan find its way out of the backwardness of the fundamentalist woods . One of the historical figures he most looks up to is Ataturk.

So it perhaps helpful to take these statements with a grain of salt . For one thing, Musharraf would have known full well that any nuclear attack against India (even invading Indian forces) would cause India to retaliate. Nuking Islamabad itself would be a clear possibility.

It is far less risky to make bellicose statements about what you would have done after the fact than it is to broadcast such threats in the moment of crisis. Furthermore, you have to keep in mind that Musharraf was talking to a group of former military officers, and there is no reason to think that he was not tailoring his message accordingly. Based on this, I don’t think that Pakistan was as close to actually using nuclear weapons as Musharraf might suggest they were.

last update : 23-5-2018

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