India, under the leadership of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, is heading toward a disaster that will have far-reaching consequences for the entire South Asian region, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday.
Addressing a session of the International Media Council on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Khan described the situation in India-held Kashmir—where India unilaterally scrapped constitutional autonomy last year—as a “potential flashpoint,” and reiterated his calls for the international community to help mediate the dispute between Pakistan and India. He said the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were pursuing the Hindutva ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which had been inspired by the Nazis.
“Under the influence of German Nazis’ mind-set, the Indian government is moving on a path littered with disastrous consequences for the entire region,” he said, warning that New Delhi’s increasing marginalization of minorities would prove disastrous for both its own citizens and those of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that the people of India-held Kashmir were in an open prison guarded by 900,000 troops. “They’re [Indian state] are trying to change the demography of Kashmir which is a war crime according to the Geneva Convention. I have spoken to President Trump about this as well,” he added.
Khan said no one could even contemplate a conflict between Pakistan and India, as both countries were nuclear powers and any war could unleash devastation across the world. The only way forward is to mend ties and resolve all disputes through dialogue, he added. He claimed earlier conflicts had arisen due to a disconnect between Pakistan’s military and its government, but said his regime enjoyed the full support of the armed forces over matters of foreign policy.
The prime minister said his biggest fear was that New Delhi would seek to distract local and international observers from ongoing protests over a controversial citizenship law by staging a ‘false flag’ operation. “We’re not close to a conflict right now … [But] what if the protests get worse in India, and to distract attention from that, what if …” he said.
Khan said he had discussed a potential war between Pakistan and India with Trump, adding the U.S. president had once again offered to help mediate peace.
Referring to the U.S.-led war on terror, Khan said he had always opposed it and been branded “anti-American or pro-Taliban” for his stance. He claimed Pakistan had a “decent relationship for the first time” with the U.S. as both had the common objectives of wanting peace in Afghanistan. He said it was a question of how to get the Taliban to talk to the U.S. and then to the Afghan government.
According to Khan, Pakistan should never have joined the war on terror, claiming it had “created more terrorists because of collateral damage.” Islamabad could not help Washington win any conflict in Afghanistan and it should never have committed to help it do so, he added.
Among other issues, Khan said he had discussed trade with President Trump. “Pakistan wants a trade relationship with the U.S.,” he said, adding that earlier both countries had been involved in a “transactional relationship.”