Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned of “consequences” if nuclear-armed Pakistan ends up losing a conventional war to its nuclear-armed rival and neighbor India.
Asked in an Al Jazeera interview to set the record straight on whether Pakistan would hit India with nuclear weapons in case of a large-scale conflict, Khan began with the disclaimer that he would never be the one to attack.
“Pakistan would never start a war, and I am clear: I am a pacifist. I am anti-war,” he said.
However, the prime minister quickly added that when two nuclear-armed states “fight a conventional war, there is every possibility that it is going to end up into nuclear war.” And while he described it as “unthinkable,” his next hint sent a clear message about what Pakistan may do if it’s losing a conventional war against India.
“If say Pakistan, God forbid, we are fighting a conventional war, we are losing, and if a country is stuck between the choice: either you surrender or you fight ‘til death for your freedom – I know Pakistanis will fight to death for their freedom.”
So when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, to the death, it has consequences.
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Khan has repeatedly warned in recent weeks that the standoff between India and Pakistan over disputed Kashmir risks spiraling into a nuclear conflict unless foreign powers intervene, along with the UN. There has also been some confusion in the media about Pakistan’s nuclear strategy.