Updated January 9th, 2024 at 23:33 IST
Why Imran Khan Wanted to Talk to PM Modi at Midnight? An Insider's Account
Former Indian envoy to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria said that then Pakistan PM Imran Khan tried to call PM Modi to avoid further escalation.
New Delhi: Former Indian envoy to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria on Saturday made huge revelations related to the 2019 Balakot airstrikes, during his exclusive interview with Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami. Former envoy revealed that then Pakistan PM Imran Khan panicked after being informed by India that 9 missiles were aiming at it demanding safe return of then wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was imprisoned by Pakistan after being forced to eject over Pakistani territory. Bisaria said that Imran Khan tried to call PM Modi to avoid further escalation. “Trying to deescalate the situation, Imran Khan attempted to call PM Modi,” he said.
“He was then felt obliged to take a decision, as the threat of forces was very credible, to return the pilot in order to not escalate the situation.”
During the aerial battle, IAF’s Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman had shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter plane on February 27, 2019 before his MiG 21 Bison jet was hit in a dogfight. Then wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was imprisoned by Pakistan after being forced to eject over Pakistani territory.
The call to PM Modi was made a day after the Balakot strikes.
‘PM Modi refused to entertain Pakistan’
According to Bisaria, Pakistan was informed by India that it had readied about 9 missiles which were ready to be fired upon them. Fearing an Indian missile attack, then Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had desperately attempted to speak with PM Modi to avert a full-blown military crisis.
Sharing details about the behind-the-scenes which led to deescalation of the situation, he said that then Pakistan PM Imran Khan would have called up PM Modi to negotiate and talk about the timeline to release Abhinandan Varthaman. But the call didn't happen. The former diplomat said that India’s stand was very clear on the issue.
Published January 9th, 2024 at 22:48 IST