Kasuri claims India had planned air strikes in Pakistan after Mumbai attacks

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Current Affairs on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri has revealed that India planned to launch air strikes on Pakistani soil following the 2008 Mumbai attacks in order to target the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), India Today reported.

Talking to host Karan Thapar on India Today television, Kasuri said that a United States (US) delegation led by Senator John McCain had met him after the terror attacks expressing concern that India may carry out surgical air strikes to target LeT and JuD in Punjab's Muridke town.

Speaking to Thapar on 'To The Point' programme before the launch of his book ‘Neither A Hawk, Nor A Dove’ in India, Kasuri quoted McCain as saying: "We have come from India where there is a lot of anger. Supposing there is limited strike on Muridke, the headquarters of JuD."

Kasuri said the delegation which visited him in Lahore, comprised Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and US special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke.

The former foreign minister states that he told McCain that Pakistan Army would give a "measured" response in case of a strike inside its territory.

He asked the delegation to ask Pentagon to communicate with the Pakistan Army directly.

Kasuri, whose book titled 'Neither a Hawk nor a Dove' was launched in Pakistan last month and arrangements are underway for its launch in India on Oct 7, also said that Pakistan Army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were supportive of a treaty of peace, friendship and security between India and Pakistan.

"We didn't want borders to divide territories. We looked at the interest of Kashmiris, Kashmiris wanted demilitarisation," Kasuri said during the interview.

He claimed that the Sir Creek agreement was decided and only needed to be signed. On the issue of Siachen, he says that India had accepted Pakistan's proposal and an in-principle deal was in sight.

Kasuri's book contains an insider account on developments on the Kashmir issue and details regarding backchannel negotiations on Kashmir and the peace process from 2002 to 2007.

Kasuri has updated the book to early 2015, including the advent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India and has analysed the situation regarding latest developments in India, Afghanistan and on Pakistan-US relations based on his experience of dealing with these countries as a foreign minister.

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