The 228th Corps Commanders’ Conference on Tuesday discussed the region’s geo-political situation, including the “irresponsible rhetoric” against Pakistan by the Indian military leadership. The conference was headed by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and attended by the top military brass.
On Saturday, India’s new army chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane had said that the Indian army will move to claim Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) if it is given orders in this regard by the parliament, Indian media reported.
In a tweet regarding the top-level army huddle, Director General of Inter Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor said: “Statements of Indian military leadership against Pakistan are an irresponsible rhetoric with implications on regional peace and stability.”
He further quoted Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa as saying: “We shall continue to play our responsible and positive role for regional peace without compromising on national security and defend our motherland at whatever cost.”
Other topics of discussion at the conference included geo-strategic, regional and national security; the militant Islamic State, the situation along Pakistan’s borders and the line of control. The meeting also discussed the situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
According to DG ISPR, the forum also reviewed the evolving security situation in the Middle East with reference to the US-Iran stand off and it’s implications on regional peace and stability.
Tensions between Pakistan and India
Tensions between Pakistan and India had spiked sharply – after Delhi annexed occupied Kashmir on August 5 last year by revoking the region’s special constitutional status – and remain high ever since because of the situation in the occupied valley.
Gen Naravane, who was appointed as India’s 28th army chief last month, had further ratcheted up the tensions in his first media interview soon after assuming the command in which he said: “If Pakistan does not stop its policy of state-sponsored terrorism, we reserve the right to pre-emptively strike at the sources of terror threat and this intent has adequately been demonstrated in our response during surgical strikes and Balakot Operation.”
The Foreign Office in Islamabad had denounced Naravane’s statement as reckless, saying: “We reject the new Indian army chief’s irresponsible statement regarding ‘pre-emptive strikes’ across the LoC inside Azad Jammu and Kashmir.”
The FO said that the Indian leadership should not be mistaken “about Pakistan’s resolve and readiness to thwart any aggressive Indian move, inside its territory or AJK”.
The Indian army chief was reminded of Pakistan’s “befitting” response to the “Balakot misadventure” in which two of their jets were downed and one of the pilots, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, captured. The pilot was released days later amidst international efforts to defuse the stand-off.
DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had also responded to the Indian army chief’s threatening statements, saying Gen Naravane “knows full well the situation in the region and the capability of the Pakistan Army. He was part of the Indian force on Feb 27 as well. So he’s not new.”
Maj Gen Ghafoor had expressed the hope that Naravane “will no longer let go of reason”. “The Pakistan Army knows how to defend the country and India also knows this,” he had said at the time.