'Pak could launch N-strike on India in 8 secs'
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Pakistan could launch a nuclear strike on India within eight seconds, claimed an army general in Islamabad in 2001, a warning that is described in the latest volume of diaries by a key aide of former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The general asked Blair's former communications director, Alistair Campbell, to remind India of Pakistan's nuclear capability amid fears in Islamabad that Delhi was "determined to take them out".
Britain became so concerned about Pakistan's threat that Blair's senior foreign policy adviser, Sir David Manning, later warned in a paper that Pakistan was prepared to "go
The warnings are relayed by Campbell in a section in his latest diaries, The Burden of Power, which are being serialised in the Guardian on Saturday and Monday.
The diaries start on the day of the 9/11 attacks and end with Campbell's decision to stand down in August 2003 after the Iraq war.
The nuclear warnings came during a visit by Blair to the Indian subcontinent after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Campbell was told about the eight-second threat over a dinner in Islamabad on October 5, 2001 hosted by Pervez Musharraf, then Pakistan's president.
Campbell writes: "At dinner I was between two five-star generals who spent most of the time listing atrocities for which they held the Indians responsible, killing their own people and trying to blame 'freedom fighters'.
"They were pretty convinced that one day there would be a nuclear war because India, despite its vast population and despite being seven times bigger, was unstable and determined to take them out".
He adds: "When the time came to leave, the livelier of the two generals asked me to remind the Indians: 'It takes us eight seconds to get the missiles over,' then flashed a huge toothy grin".
Blair visited Pakistan less than a month after the 9/11 attacks as Britain and the US attempted to shore up support in Islamabad before the bombing of Afghanistan, which started on October 7, 2001.
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