The Pakistan Army on Wednesday said it will go to any length to protect Kashmir, and said it was their “jugular vein”, Dawn reported. This came amid rising hostilities between the India and Pakistan since New Delhi revoked the state’s special status.

“Kashmir is our jugular vein and we will go to any length to protect it,” Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor was quoted as saying by Dawn.

He said that Islamabad does not follow the “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons. On August 16, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said India had always adhered to the “no first use” policy but added, “What happens in the future will depend on circumstances”.

“We don’t have any ‘no first use’ policy,” Ghafoor said. “Our weapons are for deterrence. As far as India is concerned, it us up to them to formulate any policy.” He, however, added that countries with nuclear power “have no room for war”.

Ghafoor’s comments came days after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that Islamabad would never begin a war with India.

Ghafoor said Pakistan stood with the Kashmiris in their independence struggle, which he claimed, was presented as terrorism. He said the abrogation of Article 370 was an “immoral step”.

“India is a country with a huge population, a follower of Hitler is in power [there],” he added. “The world community has interests in India.”

The director-general of Inter-Services Public Relations also said India had “indirectly continued to attack Pakistan” and gave the example of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Meanwhile, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said they do not foresee any war between India and Pakistan. “The issue is that Pakistan is nervous,” he said, according to PTI. “There is no need to react to what Pakistan people say. In the whole world, they are being ridiculed.”

India and Pakistan have engaged in a war of words ever since the former decided to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Islamabad retaliated by suspending bilateral trade and downgrading ties with New Delhi. It has raised the matter at the United Nations Security Council, and threatened take it to the UN Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice as well.

Islamabad has repeatedly hit out at the Narendra Modi-led administration for imposing a security lockdown in the state. Khan has, on multiple occasions, suggested that the escalating tensions could lead to war, and on one occasion said there was no point talking to India though he has also advocated for normalising relations with India and called for dialogue.

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