Army chief Bipin Rawat. Photograph:( ANI )
The Army Chief was responding to questions on whether there were new terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat said that the Balakot terror camp that was bombed by Indian Air Force jets in February, has been reactivated very recently, but India will keep the enemy guessing regarding the punitive response. He also added that 500 terrorists were waiting to infiltrate into India.
The Army Chief was at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai to inaugurate the Young Leaders Training Wing(YTW).
General Rawat, also spoke of the challenges that the Army faced, pertaining to the strained ties with China and Pakistan and the need for compassionate and daring leaders who would take tough decisions, actions in the times of communications failure, in the cyber-warfare dominated battlefield.
Speaking to reporters here, the Army Chief emphasized for the need for every nation to secure its borders and how India has unsettled borders along the Northern and Western fronts. “terrorists sponsored by the Western neighbor come in and create violence in Jammu and Kashmir, and they try to spread to other states as well, but our enhanced vigil driven by technology and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) has reduced the damage.
When questioned on the US President’s Statement on Radical Islamic terrorism at the Howdy Modi event in Houston, he said, “the religion is not bad, manner of interpretation is the issue. Interpretation of Islam by those of want to create disruption is what is being fed to the people, and they should not get carried away. Preachers should convey Islam in its original form.”
“Transgressions happens due to different perceptions of the Line of Actual Control(LAC) and there are overlaps on the border, to ensure that there is no escalation, soldiers from both sides interact. There are communications between junior and middle-level leadership and the mechanism is working very well”, he told WION, on the instances of incursions by Chinese troops into Indian territory.
On the current situation in Kashmir, nearly 50 days after the abrogation of Article 370, he said, “I don’t agree there is a clampdown. Brick kilns are functioning and there is smoke emanating, who is lighting those fires? Near the Jhelum River, people are collecting sand and loading it onto trucks, heaps of apples are plucked and packed into boxes. While the front shutters of shops are forcibly downed by terrorists, shops are open from behind, people are buying rice, dal and milk. Aircraft are flying into Srinagar and taxis are operating, can this happen during a clampdown? This is a fear psychosis created by terrorists. The communications breakdown that is being spoken about is between the terrorists and their handlers.”
“Pakistan is trying to help infiltrators and after the abrogation of Article 370, they have been openly saying so. Pakistan knows they can’t hit our soldiers, so they shell the civilian areas and schools. But we know how to deal with it”, he added.
When asked on reports of the reactivated Balakot terror camp and the possible Indian action, he said, “The camp has been reactivated very recently. Why should we repeat the same action(Air-strikes), why not go beyond that? Let’s keep them guessing.”