India vows violent response in case of N-attack

The IAF chief warned of an "absolutely violent, hard and harsh" response in case of a nuclear attack.

New Delhi: Even as India and Pakistan began talks on a warm note here, the Indian Air Force chief on Tuesday warned of an "absolutely violent, hard and harsh" response in case of a nuclear attack.

IAF chief PV Naik, who is India`s most senior serving military officer, made the statement after Pakistan tested its Nasr nuclear-capable tactical missile.

Naik said in his farewell press conference here that India`s nuclear doctrine, propounded at the beginning of this century, clearly calls for a "heavy" response. Naik retires on July 31.

Nasr, a short-range surface-to-surface missile, has been described by some strategic affairs experts as a "game changer" in case of an India-Pakistan conflict.

"Our nuclear policy of no-first-use... it says no use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states. It also talks about very heavy response in case of a nuclear attack on our soil... retaliatory and very hard and harsh response... Our policy talks about that.

"Tactical or strategic, it (Nasr) is a nuclear weapon. So obviously, our response will be absolutely violent, as per our existing policy. So I do not think it is a great game changer," Naik said in response to a question on the Pakistani missile.

On reports of Pakistan amassing a nuclear arsenal and gaining an upper hand vis-a-vis India in a few years, Naik said he was "not worried" over such claims. He did not explain why.

Naik will be succeeded by Air Marshal NAK Browne, in the rank of air chief marshal, currently the IAF vice chief.

Also Tuesday, Pakistan`s new Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar flew into India saying she hoped New Delhi and Islamabad could move forward as "good, friendly neighbours".

"I hope we can move forward as good, friendly neighbours who have stake in each other`s future. Both the countries understand their responsibilities to the region and within the region," she said.

IANS

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