Nuclear miscalculations.

IF the claim of former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, that Pakistan and India came close to a nuclear exchange following the Balakot misadventure of Feb 2019, is true, then both Islamabad and New Delhi need to review the protocols in place to ensure such misunderstandings do not recur. Mr Pompeo makes the claim in a newly launched memoir, adding that if it weren't for America's intervention, South Asia would have witnessed a catastrophe. According to him, in the aftermath of India's Balakot air strikes, he received a call from his Indian counterpart, who feared Pakistan was planning to mobilise its nuclear weapons against India, and that New Delhi was preparing 'its own escalation'. Mr Pompeo says he told the Indians to 'do nothing and give us a minute to sort things out'. Thereafter, he asserts he contacted the then army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa, 'the actual leader of Pakistan', and reportedly, the COAS told him he believed the Indians were preparing to deploy their nukes.

Perhaps Pakistani and Indian officials can shed more light on this exchange. However, the possibility of both sides preparing to deploy their nuclear assets after mistakenly believing the other would strike first is a terrifying thought. It is such fluid situations that can serve as a prelude to disaster. Maturity is needed where nuclear weapons are involved, and both states must jointly work towards preventing misunderstandings in the future, instead of waiting for third countries to defuse the situation...

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