India, Pakistan spar over purported ‘Kashmir’ remark

Islamabad/New Delhi, Dec 4: The “K word” played out again in India-Pakistan ties Wednesday. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was quoted by a Pakistani daily as saying that Kashmir “can trigger a fourth war” with India, while Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a sharp riposte, said there was no scope of Pakistan winning a war with India in his lifetime.

“Kashmir is a flashpoint and can trigger a fourth war between the two nuclear powers at anytime,” the Dawn quoted Sharif as saying in his address to the budget session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Council in Muzaffarabad.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, cornered by reporters for his reaction, said: “There is no scope of Pakistan winning any such war (with India) in my lifetime.”

He was reacting to Sharif’s statement during a brief interaction with reporters at a Navy Day reception in New Delhi.

Sharif’s office later issued a statement, strongly denying he made the remark.

In a rebuttal of the report that appeared in the Dawn, Sharif’s office said: “The Prime Minister of Pakistan never uttered these words and the news item is baseless, incorrect and based on malafide intentions. The said news reports are strongly rebutted.”

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is of the opinion that any issue of conflict between Pakistan and India has to be resolved through peaceful means.”

India and Pakistan were involved in wars three times – 1965, 1971 and 1999 – besides the first conflcit in 1947-48.

IANS