Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he saw no prospect of Pakistan winning a war against India “in my lifetime”, soon after his Pakistani counterpart was reported as warning of a fourth India-Pakistan war over the state on Wednesday.
Leading Pakistan newspaper The Dawn reported Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as saying that “Kashmir is a flashpoint and can trigger a fourth war between the two nuclear powers at anytime.” The newspaper said Mr. Sharif had made his remarks to Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council — the provincial legislature that administers Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Mr. Sharif’s office later issued a statement insisting he “never uttered these words and the news item is baseless, incorrect and based on malafide [sic.] intentions.” It re-issued a press release sent out to journalists on Tuesday night, embargoed for publication after Mr. Sharif’s speech. In the press release, Mr. Sharif is quoted as saying he considered Kashmir “his prime responsibility”, and hoped “that it should be resolved in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiri people and United Nations resolutions”. He blamed India for drawing Pakistan into an “arms race”. In separate remarks to journalists, Mr. Sharif’s foreign policy adviser, Sartaj Aziz, called on India to withdraw its troops from the Siachen glacier. The soldiers, he was reported as saying, were damaging Pakistan’s largest single freshwater source by their presence.