MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s foreign minister warned neighboring India on Wednesday to refrain from launching any attacks on his country, saying that Islamabad would respond with full force if New Delhi embarks on “any misadventure.”
Shah Mahmood Qureshi claimed that India was plotting an attack on Pakistan, allegedly to divert attention from a recent deadly clash between India and China in a disputed area of the Himalayas that killed at least 20 Indian soldiers. Chinese and Indian military commanders agreed on Monday to disengage their forces in the disputed area.
Qureshi, in his comments broadcast by Geo TV, offered no evidence for his allegations and there was no immediate comment from India or China.
The remarks were Qureshi’s latest verbal attack on India. On Tuesday he condemned India’s move ordering Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi to reduce its staff by half within a week.
The Indian foreign ministry said it will do the same in Islamabad after two Indian Embassy employees were seized at gunpoint in Pakistan.
Earlier, Pakistani authorities had said that two people, identified as drivers for the Indian High Commission, were arrested when they hit a pedestrian and tried to flee. They said police searched the vehicle and found counterfeit currency inside.
The two were released to the high commission and were transported to the border, where they crossed into India, authorities said.
Qureshi alleged that India, “after being beaten and embarrassed” by China in the Himalayan incident was trying to find an excuse for an operation against Pakistan.
“If 50% of our embassy staff comes back, then the Indian Embassy staff will also go back,” he said.
Pakistani and Indian forces have been on maximum alert since last year, when Pakistan claimed it shot down two Indian warplanes in the disputed region of Kashmir and captured a pilot in response to an airstrike by Indian aircraft targeting militants inside Pakistan.
Since gaining independence from British rule in 1947, the the two nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over Kashmir, which is divided between them and claimed by both in its entirety.