The tensions between India and Pakistan, following the Pulwama terror attack and the subsequent strikes by the Indian Air Force on terror camps in Balakot in February, were about to get out of hands, but were controlled by the intervention of the US, particularly National Security Advisor John Bolton, Reuters quoted sources as saying.
The report cited government sources in New Delhi, Islamabad and Washington as saying that at one stage, India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would retaliate with its own missile strikes “three times over”.
While the exchanges did not go beyond threats, but they created anxiety in Washington, Beijing and London.
According to the report, after AIF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman downed a F-16 fighter jet of Pakistan Air Force before he his MiG-21 Bison was hit and he was captured by Islamabad, NSA Ajit Doval spoke to Asim Munir, head of Pakistan’s ISI, and told him that New Delhi was not going to back off its new campaign of “counter terrorism”.
Meanwhile, a Pakistan government minister confirmed a specific Indian threat to use six missiles on targets inside Pakistan.
“We said if you fire one missile, we will fire three. Whatever India will do, we will respond three times to that,” Reuters quoted the Pakistan minister as saying.
Earlier, Economic Times had reported that it was because of the United States putting pressure on Pakistan through high-level military channels that Abhinandan was released within 48 hours of his captivity.