By Ayaskant Das
New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s statement on Thursday that the Army is prepared for any operation, including retrieving Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) from Pakistan if the government wants to, comes a day ahead of the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s plan to hold a rally in the region.
Speaking to media on Thursday, General Rawat said: “All actions are decided upon by the central government. Agencies working under the government have to act in accordance with its directions and the Army remains always prepared for any kind of action.”
India’s aggressive stance on PoK comes amidst heightened tensions between the two nuclear-powered South Asian neighbours over the Kashmir issue.
“I am going to do a big ‘jalsa’ (rally) in Muzzafarabad on Friday 13 Sept, to send a message to the world about the continuing siege of IOJK by Indian Occupation forces; & to show the Kashmiris that Pakistan stands resolutely with them,” Khan had tweeted on Wednesday.
Pakistan has constantly been trying to drum up international support against India ever since Parliament withdrew special status to Jammu and Kashmir and divided the state into two union territories. India has maintained that the Kashmir issue is its internal matter while Khan has been accusing India of committing human rights excesses in the valley by cutting off all communication channels.
Earlier this week Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had accused India of turning Kashmir into the largest prison on the planet and had further warned that the latter’s misadventure in the valley could “lead into an accidental war”.
Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, who also holds independent charge of the DONER ministry, had earlier this week reiterated the central government’s firm stand on PoK.
“Now, the next agenda is retrieving PoK and making it a part of India. It’s not only me or my party’s commitment, but it’s a part of a resolution unanimously passed by Parliament in 1994 during Congress government headed by PV Narasimha Rao,” Singh had said in Jammu.
Union home minister Amit Shah had made the BJP-led central government’s stance on the Kashmir issue during his speech in Parliament on August 6 on the resolution to withdraw special category status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt over it. When I talk about Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it,” Shah had said.
Huge protests were also reported from several areas of PoK by locals this week alleging high-handedness by Pakistan government and military in the region. India has always raised the bogey against Pakistan for using the PoK as a base for furthering terrorist activities in India.
(Ayaskant Das can be contacted at [email protected])