Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made some explosive revelations in his new book. Pompeo claimed that his Indian counterpart late Sushma Swaraj told him that Pakistan was planning a nuclear offensive against India in the wake of the Balakot surgical strike in 2019. Swaraj also mentioned to Pompeo that India is preparing its own escalation response, according to the former US top diplomat’s latest book Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.
As per this book, the incident took place between February 27-28 when he was in Hanoi for the US-North Korea Summit, and his team worked with India and Pakistan overnight to avert any conflagration. Pompeo writes in this book as accessed by news agency PTI: “I do not think the world properly knows just how close the India-Pakistan rivalry came to spilling over into a nuclear conflagration in February 2019.”
He further said that he asked Swaraj to do nothing and give the US government time to sort things out. He adds that he was fortunate to have great teammates like the former US ambassador to India Ken Juster who helped avoid a horrible crisis.
He also wrote about his meeting with the former Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa. The former US Secretary of State says that he told General Bajwa about the conversations with India. Bajwa categorically dismissed all of it as being false, as per the veteran American diplomat.
Pompeo says: “I began to work with Ambassador Bolton, who was with me in the tiny secure communications facility in our hotel. I reached the actual leader of Pakistan (Army Chief) General (Qamar Javed) Bajwa, with whom I had engaged many times. I told him what the Indians had told me. He said it wasn’t true.”
Pompeo wrote in his book: “As one might expect, he believed the Indians were preparing their nuclear weapons for deployment. It took us a few hours - and remarkably good work by our teams on the ground in New Delhi and Islamabad - to convince each side that the other was not preparing for nuclear war.”
The Indian Air Force (IAF) attacked a Jasih-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot in February 2019 days after the Pulwama terror attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF jawans. After this, a Pakistani Air Force (PAF) F-16 plane shot down a MiG-21 Bison in an aerial dogfight and kept Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman hostage for 60 hours.
(With agency inputs)
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