Qureshi then goes on to hold out the nuclear threat for the first time. But he is still not saying the N-word. The DG of Inter-Services Public Relations says: Pakistan reserves the right to use all available weapons against Indian aggression. But hardly any distance away, in the Pak foreign office, spokesman Tariq Altaf goes a step further. Kashmir today is a nuclear flashpoint, he scowls.
On the Indian side, air commodore S Bhojwani puts it dryly. That the 40 strike missions by MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-27 strike aircraft along with Mi-17s fitted with rocket pods and MiG-29B fighters providing air defence, are authorised to take appropriate action should there be a direct or indirect interference in operations by either Pak army or air force. At stake, due to Pak infiltration, is the vital ground line of communication from Srinagar to Leh.
A classic information duel breaks out on whether Indian aircraft have violated the line of control (LoC). The US rejects Pakistans claims. To our knowledge, India has not struck over the line of control, deliberately or accidentally, the state department tells the world. Will this be the vital difference in 2002