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'Sounds fanciful and amusing', says Sitharaman on Pak FM's claim that India would strike soon

"Good luck to him" said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's remark that India may strike between April 16 and 20. The Defence Minister sarcastically asked where Qureshi got the date from, adding that it sounded "amusing to her".

Speaking to news agency ANI, Sitharaman, when asked about questions raised in some sections of the international media over the Balakot air strike, asked has there been any 'one government questioning us'?

Shah Mahmood Qureshi had on Sunday claimed that his government has reliable intelligence that India is planning another attack against the country between April 16-20.

"I do not know where he got this date, so good luck to him. God knows whatever it is but it sounded very fanciful for me and amusing," Sitharaman told ANI when asked about Qureshi's claim.

Further on Balakot strike, she said it is not India who claimed about it, it was the Pakistanis who "themselves claimed about the Balakot attack."

On Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's statement 'that there may be a better chance of settling the Kashmir issue if the BJP is voted back to power', Sitharaman said that it could be a ploy.

"I wouldn't know why such statements are being made. Every time such statements are made and this is individually my perception and not my party's or the government's take. There have been many eminent leaders of the Congress who went there (Pakistan) to seek help to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They went there saying, Modi hatane ke liye hamen madad karo (help us to oust Modi). I wonder whether this is also a part of the scheme of things which have been put by Congress. I don't know what to make of this honestly," the Defence Minister told ANI in an exclusive interview.

India-Pakistan ties hit a new low after a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based JeM in South Kashmir's Pulwama which left at least 40 CRPF personnel martyred on February 14 and the risk of conflict rose dramatically on February 27, when India launched an air strike on what it said was a militant training base.

The following day Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter jet and captured its pilot who was later released.

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