Saturday, January 11, 2020
Web Desk

Indian army chief says will 'reclaim' Azad Kashmir if Indian parliament orders

This is the second time the Indian army chief has issued a provocative statement targeted at Pakistan

Web Desk
Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane. Photo: Deccan Herald 

Indian Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane on Saturday said if his army receives orders from the Indian parliament to 'reclaim' Azad Kashmir from Pakistan, it will take action, India Today has reported.

Addressing the media, the newly-appointed Indian army chief said: “If the [Indian] parliament wants [Azad] Kashmir to be a part of India, then we will take the necessary action to achieve that goal.”

“There is a parliamentary resolution that entire Jammu and Kashmir is part of India. If Parliament wants it, then, that area [AJK] also should belong to us,” he added.

This is not the first time the new Indian general has indulged in provocative posturing. In an earlier statement, Gen Naravane had said that India "reserve[d] the right to preemptively strike at sources of terror".

He had told the Press Trust of India that India had "evolved a strategy of resolute punitive response against sponsored terrorism".

Pakistan had rejected the statement, calling it 'irresponsible'.

The Foreign Office in its statement had said Pakistan was fully able to respond to any Indian aggression in AJK and that New Delhi should not forget Islamabad's befitting response to its aggression in Balakot last year.

Read: FM Qureshi warns of false flag operation by India in Kashmir

Tensions have been high between the two nuclear-armed neighbours since New Delhi revoked the special status of India-occupied Kashmir on August 5 of last year, imposing a military lockdown in the valley.

The two countries had in February last year engaged in cross-border aerial missions, which had resulted in the capture of Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman by Pakistani forces.

The captured pilot was eventually let go by Pakistan as a gesture of peace. 

Read also: Indian army chief Bipin Rawat beats war drums over Azad Kashmir

Pakistan army vows 'even stronger' response if India attempts military action 

Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan's armed forces will give an 'even stronger' response than that of February, if India attempts any military action across the Line of Control (LoC).

The Indian army chief’s statement on Azad Kashmir was a part of routine rhetoric to divert attention from domestic issues in India, said the DG ISPR.

The DG ISPR, in a tweet, said that Pakistan’s armed forces are ready to respond to any Indian aggression.

“Statements by Indian COAS to undertake military action across LOC are routine rhetoric for domestic audiences to get out of ongoing internal turmoil. Pakistan Armed Forces are fully prepared to respond to any act of Indian aggression," he tweeted.

The DG ISPR called the Indian COAS' statement a latest manifestation of extremist indoctrination in India’s state institutions.

‪"We are aware of the dangers of belligerent fascist mindset in IOJ&K and to regional peace. World needs to take notice of Indian atrocities in IOJ&K and against minorities across India,” he said.

‪He added that India has experienced Pakistan’s response on Feb 27, 2019. “Same shall be even stronger next time,” said the DG ISPR.

Pakistan Army 'ready for India'

Prime Minister Imran Khan, while addressing a rally in Pind Dadan Khan on December 26, had said Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has assured him that the country's military is "ready for India" in case of an attack on Azad Kashmir.

"I am telling you now, [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi will use this [protests against anti-Muslim laws in India] to do something in Azad Kashmir. I informed Gen Bajwa about this and he told me that Pakistan Army is ready for India," the premier had said.