Modi and Aiyar Spar Over Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal: Fear Mongering or Reality Check?

In a recent interview, Mani Shankar Aiyar's remarks added fuel to the fire, with the Congress leader suggesting that India should engage in dialogue with Pakistan out of respect for its nuclear capabilities. Aiyar's comments drew swift condemnation from the BJP, with Modi accusing the Congress of downplaying Pakistan's nuclear threat.

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Recent remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar have reignited debates over India’s stance towards Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities, with both leaders presenting starkly contrasting views on the matter.

Addressing a rally in Odisha’s Kandhamal district, Prime Minister Modi accused the Congress party of instilling fear among Indians by repeatedly highlighting Pakistan’s status as a nuclear power. “They (Congress) create fear psychosis in the minds of Indians by reiterating Pakistan is a nuclear power,” Modi asserted, alleging that the Congress’s weak stance had prolonged the struggles faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Modi further criticized the Congress for its alleged leniency towards perpetrators of terrorism, accusing the party of prioritizing political interests over national security.

In a recent interview, Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remarks added fuel to the fire, with the Congress leader suggesting that India should engage in dialogue with Pakistan out of respect for its nuclear capabilities. Aiyar’s comments drew swift condemnation from the BJP, with Modi accusing the Congress of downplaying Pakistan’s nuclear threat.

However, the Congress swiftly distanced itself from Aiyar’s statements, emphasizing the party’s historical achievements in dealing with Pakistan, notably the breakup of Pakistan and the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971 under the leadership of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Modi, in his address, took a jab at Aiyar’s assertion, questioning the quality and efficacy of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. “The condition of Pakistan is such that they can’t even handle the bomb (nuclear). They are now out to sell it … so that they find someone to buy it… but people know that it’s not of good quality,” Modi remarked, downplaying Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities.

Amidst the political rhetoric, Modi also took the opportunity to tout the achievements of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government, particularly the successful nuclear tests conducted at Pokhran on May 11, 1998. He credited these tests with elevating India’s international standing and instilling a sense of pride among Indians worldwide.

As the Lok Sabha elections approach, the exchange between Modi and Aiyar underscores the broader discourse surrounding national security and foreign policy. While Modi emphasizes the need for a robust response to Pakistan’s nuclear threat, Aiyar’s remarks hint at a more conciliatory approach, advocating for dialogue and mutual respect.

With tensions simmering between India and Pakistan, the divergent viewpoints of leaders like Modi and Aiyar reflect the complex challenges facing India’s strategic interests in the region.

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