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Qatal ki Raat: 9 missiles ready, PM Modi refused to talk to Imran Khan… The story of that ‘Qatal ki Raat’, when India was ready to attack Pakistan

Source : The Times of India

Qatal ki Raat: 9 missiles ready, PM Modi refused to talk to Imran Khan... The story of that 'Qatal ki Raat', when India was ready to attack Pakistan

Qatal ki Raat: 9 missiles ready, PM Modi refused to talk to Imran Khan… The story of that ‘Qatal ki Raat’, when India was ready to attack Pakistan

New Delhi: With nine Indian missiles apparently pointed at Pakistan, ready to be unleashed any moment, a spooked Pakistani government knocked on the doors of then Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria at midnight to defuse the situation by facilitating a conversation its PM Imran Khan wanted to have with PM Modi, reports Sachin Parashar.

The night in question, described later by Modi himself as “qatal ki raat” (night of bloodshed), was of February 27, 2019, the first of the two that captured Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman spent in Pakistan’s custody after the aerial dogfight earlier in the day.

Bisaria pieces together granular details of developments after the pilot was taken captive in an account of India’s coercive diplomacy, which led to his release two days later, in his upcoming book ‘Anger Management: The Troubled Diplomatic Relationship Between India and Pakistan’.

The night of February 27, 2019, known as the qatal ki raat, saw a spooked Pakistan government seeking conversation between Imran Khan and Narendra Modi. Ajay Bisaria, the Indian high commissioner, received a call from Pakistan high commissioner Sohail Mahmood, who wanted to facilitate the conversation. The next day, Khan announced the release of Indian wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman as a peace gesture. Western diplomats conveyed the seriousness of India’s threat to escalate the situation if Abhinandan was harmed. Bisaria’s book reveals the effectiveness of India’s coercive diplomacy in forcing Pakistan to reconsider its terror policy.

India has urged Pakistan to expedite the release and repatriation of 184 Indian fishermen, who have completed their sentence. Additionally, India has requested immediate consular access to the remaining 12 civilian prisoners believed to be Indian. Both countries exchange lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen twice a year, and India has shared its lists of 337 civilian prisoners and 81 fishermen in its custody, who are Pakistani or believed to be Pakistani. Pakistan has also shared its lists of 47 civilian prisoners and 184 fishermen in its custody, who are Indian or believed to be Indian.

In an interview with ANI, external affairs minister S Jaishankar sheds light on India’s global diplomatic strategies and its approach to dealing with Pakistan. Jaishankar emphasizes that India has neutralized Pakistan’s policy of using cross-border terrorism as leverage in diplomatic dialogues, making it irrelevant. He also highlights that India is open to dealing with Pakistan but not under conditions where terrorism is seen as a legitimate tool for diplomacy. Additionally, Jaishankar discusses India’s evolving relationship with the United States, Gulf countries, and the influence of Khalistani forces in Canadian politics. He advocates for a realistic approach in dealing with China and highlights India’s leadership in the G20.

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