NEW YORK - Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned the United Nations Friday that his country's dispute with India over Kashmir could escalate into an all-out nuclear war that would have consequences for the world.
In a fiery speech lasting 50 minutes, Khan said India could unleash a "bloodbath" in the Muslim-majority territory, as the nuclear-armed rivals took center stage at the UN General Assembly.
His heated rhetoric stood in stark contrast to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address an hour earlier, when the Hindu nationalist leader touted domestic successes but made only an oblique reference to terrorism, taken to mean Pakistan.
The speeches occurred as thousands of protesters gathered outside the UN building to demonstrate, both in support of Modi and against the clampdown in Kashmir, which has been under lockdown since New Delhi scrapped its semi-autonomous status in early August.
Khan warned there could be a repeat of the fighting between the regional rivals seen in February if India blamed his country for a homegrown militant attack in response to the crackdown.
"If a conventional war starts between the two countries, anything could happen. But supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbor is faced with the choice: either you surrender, or you fight for your freedom till death," Khan said.
"What will we do? I ask myself these questions. We will fight ... and when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders," warned Khan, whose speech was punctuated by applause, mainly by the Pakistani delegation but at times others.