New Delhi has accused Pakistan’s foreign minister of stirring up “war hysteria” after he claimed, citing credible intelligence data, that India was drawing up plans to strike Pakistan once again sometime later this month.
India is preparing to stage another attack on Pakistani soil, similar to the Balakot strike back in February, sometime between April 16 and 20, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Quraishi loudly proclaimed on Sunday, citing ‘reliable’ intelligence information. The alleged threat appeared so great to Pakistan that the information has been shared with the UN Security Council.
New Delhi denounced Islamabad’s accusations as “irresponsible and preposterous,” and accused its neighbor of making false claims to divert attention from “cross-border terrorism” which the government of Narendra Modi believes is at the core of the dispute between the two states. Quraishi’s claims were voiced with the “clear objective of whipping up war hysteria in the region,” India’s foreign ministry says.
This public gimmick appears to be a call to Pakistan-based terrorists to undertake a terror attack in India.
Yet, while viewing the “hysterical” statement as nothing short of a provocation, Raveesh Kumar, the spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, stressed that his country reserves the “right to respond firmly and decisively to a cross-border terrorist attack.”
On February 26 India carried out strikes inside Pakistani territory against a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist camp, in response to the Pulwama attack on February 14, in which a Kashmiri member of a Pakistan-based militant group killed 40 Indian paramilitary police in a suicide bombing.
In an air encounter on February 27, one of India’s MiG-21s was shot down while confronting Pakistani jets that were conducting a retaliatory cross-border raid. Tensions between the regional nuclear powers along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir have been high ever since.