India on Sunday rejected as irresponsible and preposterous Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s claim that New Delhi was planning to attack Pakistan again.
“India rejects the irresponsible and preposterous statement by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan with a clear objective of whipping up war hysteria in the region. This public gimmick appears to be a call to Pakistan-based terrorists to undertake a terror attack in India,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
Asserting that the false claim was a call to terrorists nurturing on its soil to carry out an attack in India, India said that Islamabad needed to take “credible and irreversible” steps against terrorism.
“It has been made clear to Pakistan that it cannot absolve itself of responsibility of a cross border terrorist attack in India. No attempt at creating an alibi for its complicity in such attacks will succeed. Pakistan needs to take credible and irreversible steps against terrorism operating from all territories under its control rather than making hysterical statements to obfuscate the core issue that bedevils our region: cross- border terrorism. Pakistan has been advised to use established diplomatic and DGMO channels to share any actionable and credible intelligence it has about imminent terror attacks,” the statement by MEA read.
The MEA also warned Islamabad that New Delhi reserves right to respond firmly and decisively to any cross-border terrorist attack.
Earlier today, Qureshi said Pakistan has “reliable intelligence” that India is planning to attack again between April 16 and 20. The claim came amid the ongoing tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.
Addressing a press conference in his home town of Multan, Qureshi said the government had "reliable intelligence that India is devising a new plan".
"A new mishap could be staged...And its purpose will be to justify their [India's] offensive against Pakistan and to increase diplomatic pressure against Islamabad," he alleged.
"If it happens, you can imagine the impact of the occurrence on the peace and stability of the region. According to our information, the action could be taken between 16-20 April," Qureshi said, adding that preparations were being made for the attack against Pakistan.
The foreign minister said Pakistan had already briefed the United Nations Security Council's permanent members over the issue and stated Islamabad's apprehensions.
Qureshi's remarks were not taken seriously by the Opposition in the neighbouring country. The Pakistan People Party (PPP) accused the government of using war threat by India to hide its failures.
"The government has failed to deliver and now using the threat of war by India to distract public attention from issues faced by the people," PPP leader Nafeesa Shah said.
Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district in February.
Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.
The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.