Dubai, July 27 (IANS) Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said he considered using nuclear weapons against India after a terror attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001 dramatically peaked India-Pakistan tensions.
But he decided against it out of fear of Indian retaliation, a Japanese newspaper said.
In an interview to the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun, Musharraf said that when tensions were high after the December 2001 attack which New Delhi blamed on Pakistani terrorists, there was a “danger when (the) nuclear threshold could have been crossed”.
Musharraf recalled that he had many sleepless nights, asking himself whether he would or could deploy nuclear weapons against India, the daily said.
Then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had ordered a major troops mobilization along the Pakistan border after the terror attack and threatened a decisive conflict.
At that time, Musharraf had publicly said he would not rule out the possibility of using nuclear weapons. His testimony pointed to the fact that it had indeed been a realistic option, not just a diplomatic feint, the newspaper said.
Musharraf also said that at the time neither India nor Pakistan had nuclear warheads on their missiles. So it would have taken one to two days to make them launch-ready.
Asked whether he had ordered that missiles be equipped with nuclear warheads and put into firing position, he said: “We didn’t do that and we don’t think India also did that, thank God.”
Subsequently, tensions subsided between the two countries.
Musharraf came to head the Pakistan Army in 1998. He staged a coup in October 1999, ousting then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and was President from 2001 to 2008. Musharraf now lives in Dubai.