WASHINGTON (AFP) – Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in a book released Tuesday that India and Pakistan came close to nuclear war in 2019 and that US intervention USA prevented escalation.
“I do not believe the world adequately knows how close the India-Pakistan rivalry came to boiling over into a nuclear conflagration in February 2019,” the likely future presidential contender wrote in “Never Give an Inch”, his memoirs on his time as chief diplomat of donald trump and formerly head of the CIA.
In February 2019, India broke precedent by launching airstrikes inside Pakistani territory after blaming a militant group there for a suicide bombing that killed 41 Indian paramilitary soldiers in the flashpoint Kashmir region. Pakistan shot down an Indian warplane, capturing the pilot.
Pompeo, who was in Hanoi to attend a summit between Trump and the North Korean leader kim jong unHe said he was awakened by an urgent call from a senior Indian official.
“I thought the Pakistanis had started preparing their nuclear weapons for an attack. India, he informed me, was contemplating its own escalation,” Pompeo wrote.
“I asked him not to do anything and give us a minute to sort things out,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo said that US diplomats convinced both India and Pakistan that neither was preparing for a nuclear escalation.
“No other nation could have done what we did that night to avoid a horrible outcome,” Pompeo wrote.
Pompeo, who wrote that Pakistan “probably allowed” the Kashmir attack, said he spoke to “Pakistan’s true leader,” then-army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, alluding to the weakness of civilian governments.
Pompeo then publicly defended India’s right to act. In his book, Pompeo spoke well of India and, unlike New Delhi officials, made no secret of his desire to ally with South Asian democracy “to counter Chinese aggression.”
India, followed by Pakistan, tested nuclear bombs in 1998, a watershed moment. Then-President Bill Clinton would famously call Kashmir, divided between the two nations, “the most dangerous place on earth.”
‘I keep trying to kill you’
Pompeo writes extensively in the book about his diplomacy with kim jong unwhich included the preparation of three meetings between the young totalitarian leader and Trump.
He recalls a chilling first conversation while flying to Pyongyang in March 2018 on a clandestine trip as CIA director.
“’I didn’t think you were going to show up. I know you’ve been trying to kill me,'” Pompeo quoted Kim as saying.
“I decided to lean in with a bit of humor of my own: ‘Mr. President, I’m still trying to kill you.'”
But Pompeo described a budding understanding with Kim as the Trump administration offered incentives to de-escalate..
Pointing to Kim’s smoking habit, Pompeo wrote that he told Kim he would take him to “the most beautiful beach in Miami and smoke the best Cubans in the world. He told me: ‘I already have a great relationship with the Castros.’ Of course, he had her.
Turning to their substantive conversation, Pompeo said Kim spoke candidly about concerns about China, normally seen as North Korea’s main ally.
Told that China believes North Korea wants US forces out of South Korea, “Kim laughed and banged the table in joy, exclaiming that the Chinese were liars.”
Kim “said that he needed the Americans in South Korea to protect itself from the CCP, and that the CCP needs the Americans out so that it can treat the peninsula like Tibet and Xinjiang.”Pompeo wrote, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.
Pompeo became known for his hawkish stance on China, controversially accusing Beijing of spreading the “Wuhan virus.”
He recounted that Trump told him with an epithet that the Chinese president, Xi Jinping“hates you” and asked Pompeo to “shut the fuck up for a while”, since the United States needed medical equipment from China.
Pompeo has not ruled out running against Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, though early polls show little support for Pompeo.
The Times of Israel