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Pakistan Slams New Indian Army Chief’s “Irresponsible Statement”

On Wednesday, Pakistan rejected the new Indian Army Chief Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane’s “irresponsible statement” related to the “pre-emptive strikes” being conducted across the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

The Foreign Office (FO) said in a press release: “There should be no doubt about Pakistan’s resolve and readiness to thwart against any aggressive Indian move, inside its territory or AJ&K. No one should forget Pakistan’s befitting response to India’s Balakot misadventure. Despite India’s provocations, Pakistan will continue contributing to all efforts of promoting peace, security, and stability in the region and beyond.”

The First Post reported that Gen Naravane, who was appointed as the 28th army chief of India Tuesday, said that New Delhi “reserves the right to preemptively strike across the Line of Control (LoC). If Pakistan does not stop its policy of state-sponsored terrorism, we reserve the right to preemptively strike at the sources of terror threat and this intent has adequately been demonstrated in our response during surgical strikes and Balakot operation.”

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He made these statements barely hours after taking charge, in an exclusive interview with the Press Trust of India. He further stated that a “strategy of resolute punitive response has been evolved to tackle cross-border terrorism”.

Prior to his new appointment, Gen Naravane served as the vice-chief of the Indian army, as well as in various command and staff appointments in peace, field and “highly active counter-insurgency environments” in occupied Kashmir and the northeast. Furthermore, he headed the Eastern Command of the force and commanded a Rashtriya Rifles battalion in occupied Kashmir, along with an infantry brigade on the eastern front.

Gen Naravane took over the position of army chief after the former army chief Gen Bipin Rawat was appointed as the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of India, a day before his superannuation. Only last month, Rawat said that the situation at the LoC could “escalate any time”. In response, General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the Inter-Services Public Relations Director, termed Rawat’s remarks an “effort, as usual, to divert world attention from widespread protests” over the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) of India.

The Foreign Office said that Pakistan was fully able to respond to any Indian aggression in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and that New Delhi should not forget the befitting response Islamabad gave to India’s aggression in Balakot last year.

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At the same time, the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, has said that India has installed lethal weapons at the LoC, revealing Modi government’s highly aggressive designs against Pakistan. He warned that “Indian aggressive desig­ns are a great threat to the regional peace and security of the entire subcontinent. In case of a war, India must be ready for deadly results”.

He further said, “We are grateful to the people of Balochistan who have been staging demonstrations and protest rallies across the province to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir. I’m visiting Quetta to thank the people of Balochistan on behalf of their Kashmiri brothers. India has installed lethal and deadly weapons at the Line of Control and most of these weapons are being used against the innocent people of Kashmir. The world community must take notice of this situation”.

He reiterated in the end that “Without the consent of the Kashmiri people, the Kashmir issue will not be resolved”. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments!

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