Lucknow, Jul 9: Ahead of the Narendra Modi-Nawaz Sharif meeting in Russia, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today rejected his Pakistan counterpart's warning on use of nuclear weapons asserting that India is "capable of defending itself".
Asked to comment on Khawaja Asif's statement that use of nuclear weapons was an option if need arises, Parrikar said,"Answer to every question is not necessary. I am the defence minister of India. I know my job very well. And, let me tell you that India is capable of defending itself."
Asif had said in a television interview that if Pakistan needed to use nuclear weapons for "our survival, we will".
"We should pray that such an option never arises, but if we need to use them (nuclear weapons) for our survival, we will," he had said.
On China blocking a proposal for action by the UN against Pakistan on release of Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Parrikar parried a direct reply but said "the matter is related to the External Affairs Ministry and the Prime Minister."
During his 90-minute meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Russian city of Ufa, Prime Minister Modi yesterday "strongly" and "clearly" conveyed India's concerns in this regard. To a question on cross-border terrorism, the Defence Minister, who was here to inaugurate an orientation programme for newly-elected Cantonment Board Members, said, "It has come down."
As compared to the previous regime, there has been a drop in the number of ceasefire violations, he said. Parrikar refused to comment on the possibility of Myanmar- like strikes along the Pakistan border to flush out militants.
"The question is based on certain assumptions...," he said, adding, "Secretive/covert actions of the government are not meant to be revealed. Such things are secret and cannot be shared."
Hitting back at rebels who had killed 18 soldiers in Manipur, special forces of the Army had carried out a surgical strike inside Myanmar last month.
The strike was conducted by commandos on specific intelligence input in coordination with Myanmarese authorities.