Seventeen Indian soldiers were killed after an attack by four militants on an army base in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. Following the attack Home Minister Rajnath Singh called Pakistan a "terrorist state". Meanwhile, Pakistani officials called allegations that the country was involved in the attacks "baseless".
In the aftermath of the attack, social media users began sharing an interview that Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja M Asif gave to Geo TV's Saleem Safi about Indo-Pak ties. In it, Asif said that Pakistan would not hesitate in using nuclear weapons if there was any threat to the country's security.
While the statement itself reflects Pakistan's long-standing (but no less worrisome) stance on the use of nuclear weapons, it's worthwhile pointing out that the interview was not a response to India's statements following Uri. The interview was broadcast on September 17 according to GeoNews, the evening before the Uri attack took place – although excerpts from the interview floated around the internet aftewards, with many thinking it was a Pakistani response to India calling the country a "terrorist state."
Khawaja has indeed used almost the same language before, and even been chastised about it by local newspapers, such as Dawn which wrote an editorial suggesting it would not be productive to keep bringing up nuclear weapons.
This is what Asif said in an excerpt (video above) of the interview posted to Twitter:
"Is there a threat of war with Pakistan?"
"I don't think there is any such threat but as Allah has said in the Quran, 'The horses must be prepared', so we should always be completely prepared. There is also a famous English proverb, 'The price of freedom is eternal vigilance'... We are always pressurised time and again that our tactical (nuclear) weapons, in which we have a superiority, that we have more tactical weapons than we need. It is internationally recognised that we have a superiority and if there is a threat to our security or if anyone steps on our soil and if someone’s designs are a threat to our security, we will not hesitate to use those weapons for our defence."
"So if there is a war with India, we could use atomic weapons?"
"This depends on the situation…but if our defence and survival is in danger, then we should use everything, what is there to fear?"
Asif also took to Twitter to criticise the Indian government's response to the Uri attack.
Here is the interview in full. The above excerpt is from the 15 minute mark. He also spoke about the differences in India's and Pakistan's defence strategies and how Pakistan hopes to compete with India when their "population, weapons, defence budget, lobbying, army is many times ours".