New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that his country was ready to give up its nuclear weapons if India did the same. Speaking to Fox News soon after his meeting with United States President Donald Trump, Khan was asked if India were to give up its nuclear weapons, would Pakistan follow suit.
"Yes, because nuclear war is not an option," Khan replied, adding that the idea of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan is actually self-destruction.
"Also, I think there is this realisation in the subcontinent... some incident happened last February and we again had tensions at the border...an Indian plane was shot down by Pakistan," Khan said, referring to the Pulwama terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 and the retaliatory action by the Indian Air Force.
In the interview, Khan elaborated on the offer that Trump has reportedly made to act as a mediator for peace talks between India and Pakistan. "I asked President Trump if he could play a role. The US is the most powerful country in the world. It is also the only country that could mediate between Pakistan and India and resolve the only issue, which is Kashmir," Khan said.
"The only reason why for 70 years that we have not been able to live like civilised neighbours is because of Kashmir," added Khan.
When asked to respond to a statement issued by India's Ministry of External Affairs that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made no such request to Trump and that Kashmir remained a bilateral issue, Khan said, "So many bilaterals have happened. There was one point when we did get close to the resolution of Kashmir issue. But since then we are poles apart. I really feel that India should come to the table. The US could play a part. President Trump could certainly play a big part. We are talking about 1.3 billion people on this earth, imagine the dividends of peace if it could be resolved."
Trump had earlier said that Modi had requested him to mediate peace talks between India and Pakistan. The comments, which caused a huge uproar in the Parliament on Tuesday, were categorically dismissed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. "Any engagement with Pakistan will require an end to cross border terrorism," he said even as opposition parties demanded that Modi himself make a statement to clear the air.