Saturday June 15, 2024

Rawat aims to ramp up heat in Kashmir

By Mariana Baabar
January 15, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Refusing to listen to the voice of reason, the Indian Army chief, General Bipin Rawat, continued bragging on Sunday when he dangerously suggested that the Indian Army would ramp up military offensive to “pile up heat on Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism in Kashmir”.

In an interview to India’s PTI news agency, the General Bipin Rawat asserted that there was room for ramping up heat on Pakistan to cut flow of cross border terror activities, clearly indicating that the Indian army will continue its policy of hot pursuit in dealing with militancy.

“The political initiative and all the other initiatives must go simultaneously hand-in-hand and only if all of us function in synergy, we can bring lasting peace in Kashmir. It has to be a politico-military approach that we have to adopt,” he said.

On Friday, Bipin Rawat had said that his army would not hesitate to cross the Pakistani border to carry out an operation if ordered by the government. “We will call the (nuclear) bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff,” he had threatened.

He received a befitting response from Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who replied, “Very irresponsible statement by Indian army chief, not befitting his office. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter. If that is what they desire, they are welcome to test our resolve. The general's doubt would swiftly be removed, Inshallah.”

General Rawat further said that the armed forces operating in the “state” cannot be “status quoist” and must evolve new strategies and tactics to deal with the situation, which he feels is “marginally” better since he took over a year ago.

Asked whether there is room for ramping up pressure on Pakistan to force it to stop sending terrorists to the state, he said, “Yes, you cannot be status quoist. You have to continuously think and keep moving forward. You have to keep changing your doctrines and concept and the manner in which you operate in such areas.”

General Rawat said the Indian army will have to evolve new strategies and new tactics to deal with the situation. At the same time, he said an overall approach was required to deal with the Kashmir issue.

“Military is only part of the mechanism to resolve the Kashmir issue. Our charter is to ensure that the terrorists who are creating violence in the state are taken to task and those who have been radicalised and are increasingly moving towards terrorism are prevented from doing so,” he said. Spokesman at the Foreign Office had on Saturday also taken serious note of the manner that Rawat had threatened Pakistan with nukes.

“Rawat’s remarks are threatening and representative of a sinister mindset that has taken hold of India. These are not issues to be taken lightly. There must not be any misadventure based on (a) miscalculation,” he said.

Many like PTI’s Dr Shireen Mazari tweeted that it cannot be a coincidence that nuclear threats are being hurled about. “A mere coincidence? North Korean ldr and Trump threaten each other with possible nuclear war and now Indian army chief wants to call Pakistan's ‘nuclear bluff’! Clear who the irresponsible nuke states/ldrs are today!” she tweeted.

On Sunday, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal while taking note of the Indian army chief’s “nuke” threat responded that India was an irresponsible nuclear state. "Nuclear weapons are not pistols or slingshots, they are weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, people expect nuclear powers to behave responsibly. And India wants to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group? What do the Indian army chief and (US President Donald) Trump's statements indicate? That external attempts are being made to pressure Pakistan," he said.