Pakistan army vows 'full force' response if India attacks
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Pakistan army vows 'full force' response if India attacks

“We have no intention to initiate war, but we will respond with full force to full spectrum threat that would surprise you,” Pakistani army’s spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor told reporters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Friday. “Don’t mess with Pakistan,” he added. He emphasized that if any war is imposed on Islamabad, it reserves the right to respond. Ghafoor's warning came a week after the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), one of the several armed outfits fighting Indian rule over Kashmir, took responsibility for a deadly car bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir. At least 44 Indian paramilitary personnel were killed and dozens more wounded after a bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into a military convoy in Kashmir on February 14. Following the incident, India's Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale called Pakistan’s Ambassador to New Delhi Sohail Mahmood, and “issued a very strong demarche in connection with the terrorist attack in Pulwama.” India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also vowed a strong response to those behind the attack. “I want to tell the terrorist groups and their masters that they have committed a big mistake. They have to pay a heavy price,” he said after an emergency cabinet meeting. In a televised speech on February 19, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said Islamabad had nothing to do with the bombing and called for dialog with India to ease tensions. He said the Indian government had leveled allegations against Pakistan "without any evidence" and expressed the Pakistani government's readiness to cooperate with New Delhi in investigating the bombing. Elsewhere in his news conference, Ghafoor also reiterated the offer for talks between New Delhi and Islamabad. "Kashmir is a regional issue. Let us talk about it. Let us resolve it,” he said. Pakistan and India have been engaged in hostility over Kashmir ever since their independence from the British colonial rule and their partition in 1947. Both countries claim all of Kashmir and have fought three wars over the territory. Indian troops are in constant clashes with armed groups seeking Kashmir’s independence or its merger with Pakistan. India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them across the restive frontier in an attempt to launch attacks. Pakistan strongly denies the allegation.

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