Washington: US President Joe Biden criticised Pakistan, calling it "one of the most dangerous nations in the world" and said it may possess "nuclear weapons without any coherence” which strained relations between Washington and Islamabad.
At a private Democratic Party luncheon in Los Angeles, Biden made his caustic comments about international geopolitics and the US' issues with China and Russia. Days before Biden's comments, his administration had approved a $450 million refurbishment plan for Pakistan's F-16s, one of its primary means of delivering nuclear weapons.
At a news conference in Karachi, foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto said Pakistan’s nuclear assets “meet each and every international standard in accordance with IAEA”. The US President often makes discursive digressions at party gatherings, and his more recent unscripted critiques involve developments in Italy and Hungary, where right-wing forces have come to the forefront.
At a fundraiser for Democrats, Biden stated that “I’ve spent more time with Xi Jinping than any person in the world - 78 hours’ ... I’ve travelled 17,000 miles with him… This is a guy who understands what he wants but has an enormous array of problems. How do we handle that? How do we handle that relative to what’s going on in Russia? And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion.”
The comments also followed a week of US-Pakistan engagement that involved the country’s top general, Qamar Javed Bajwa, and its foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, both of whom were in Washington in an effort to reset ties with the US that have gone downhill over the past few years.
The US president’s remarks triggered a hysterical reaction in Pakistan, with that country’s leaders, analysts, and TV anchors going ballistic about what they see as Washington’s war-mongering and Pakistan’s safe and secure nuclear arsenal.