Pakistan on Tuesday condemned recent statements made by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during election rallies in Haryana, calling them “provocative and highly irresponsible”.
“Statements from a senior Minister in the Indian government provide another insight into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) mindset — a mix of extremist ideology, hegemonic ambitions, and obsession with Pakistan,” read a statement issued by office of the Foreign Office spokesperson.
“It is highly irresponsible of the Indian defence minister to be threatening the splitting of a sovereign country. We are sure that the world community would take cognizance. For his part, Mr Rajnath Singh should have no doubt that the security forces and people of Pakistan remain ready to resolutely defend the country against any evil design,” added the statement.
Singh on Sunday while addressing a public rally in Haryana’s Karnal said India is “ready to assist Pakistan” to “combat terror on its soil”.
“You divided India into two pieces as part of the two-nation theory in 1947,” he was quoted as saying by India Today. “But in 1971, your country was divided into two pieces again. And if the situation persists, then no power can stop Pakistan from being broken up further.”
The Foreign Office rejected Singh’s “gratuitous” comments on help in counter-terrorism. “India would help itself by ceasing forthwith the state-terrorism it has been perpetrating for decades against the Kashmiri people in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. India must also cease its sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan,” said the statement.
The statement then pointed to the “well-established pattern” of the BJP leadership whipping up anti-Pakistan sentiment whenever there are elections in India to rally support for its candidates.
“As we have stressed before, the BJP should contest elections on the basis of its own performance, rather than dragging Pakistan into the domestic political foray for electoral gains,” the FO statement reiterated.
This is not the first time that Singh has made such inflammatory remarks; in 2016, he was reported as saying that Pakistan would “soon be in ten pieces” if cross-border terrorism does not come to an end.
In August this year, the Indian defence minister had come under fire for his comments on the ‘no first use’ policy regarding nuclear weapons.
Singh had declared that while New Delhi had stuck to its commitment of ‘no first use’ policy regarding nuclear weapons, the future policy would depend upon the situation. According to analysts, this statement by India introduced a level of ambiguity in New Delhi’s core national security doctrine.
Pakistan had denounced Singh’s statements as “irresponsible” and “unfortunate”, and vowed to maintain credible minimum deterrence posture.