In a shocking revelation, Bruce Riedel, a former member of the White House National Security Council, said that Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif had considered launching a nuclear attack on India, to turn the course of the Kargil War, which the Islamic republic was losing.
Riedel says that on the morning of US's Independence Day (4 July) in 1999, the CIA in a top secret briefing informed the then US President Bill Clinton that Pakistan was ready to launch nuclear weapons against India.
The now famous meeting between Bill Clinton and Nawaz Sharif, that was cardinal towards ending the war, happened on the same day.
"The intelligence was compelling. The mood in the Oval Office was grim," said Bruce Riedel who was among those present at the meeting.
Foreign Policy reports Sandy Berger, the then US National Security Advisor, who succumbed to cancer on 1 December 2015, saying to Clinton, "If he (Sharif) arrives as a prime minister but stays as an exile he's not going to be able to make stick whatever deal you get out of him."
"Berger urged President Clinton to hear out Sharif, but to be firm. Since Pakistan started this crisis, it must end it sans any compensation. The President had to make it clear to Sharif that only a Pak withdrawal will prevent tensions from escalating," The Tehelka reports Riedel's obituary for Berger as saying.
The meeting that stopped an unmitigated damage from scarring the lives of people in South Asia also became the reason why Sharif was toppled from his position, and led to him living in exile for a decade in Saudi Arabia.
India was ready to retaliate in case a nuclear war ensued, wiping out Pakistan but losing 500 million of its own, claims Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Taylor Branch in his book 'The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President'.