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Friday, May 24, 2024

The Untold Story of Imran Khan’s Urgent Call to Modi Amidst Balakot Crisis

In response to the escalating tension, Imran Khan sought a midnight phone call with PM Modi to defuse the situation.

The former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, reportedly made an urgent midnight call to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 27, 2019, in an attempt to prevent a military crisis following the Balakot airstrikes. According to a forthcoming book by former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria, Pakistan feared an imminent attack from India after the Indian Air Force conducted airstrikes in Balakot on February 26. On the night of February 27, Pakistan’s foreign secretary received intelligence that nine Indian missiles were pointed towards Pakistan.

In response to the escalating tension, Imran Khan sought a midnight phone call with PM Modi to defuse the situation. However, Modi was reportedly unavailable, and India offered to send an aircraft to pick up Imran Khan for talks, which Pakistan declined. China also suggested sending a deputy minister for de-escalation, but India politely refused the offer.

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Bisaria notes that India’s “coercive diplomacy” was effective, and the situation de-escalated after Pakistan announced the release of the captured Indian pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman. The book also reveals insights into the regional geopolitics, including Imran Khan’s communication with China seeking support against India, and China’s response that it would not prop up Pakistan against India.

Bisaria’s book suggests that Imran Khan’s public airing of hawkish views on Kashmir and Pakistan’s insistence on linking overall ties to progress on Kashmir led to the collapse of the Agra Summit in 2001. Additionally, the book mentions that Pakistan’s ISI tipped off India about an al-Qaeda plot in June 2019, showing genuine cooperation on counter-terrorism efforts.

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Despite Pakistan’s claim of releasing the Indian pilot as a peace gesture, Bisaria attributes the de-escalation to India’s diplomatic efforts and its clear stance backed by a credible resolve.