India’s Army chief, General Bipin Rawat, above centre, was not jingoistic as critics allege when he said on Thursday that while forces are always ready for action, it is up to the government to take the decision.
Gen Rawat’s comment came when media sought his response to a union minister’s view that India must get back Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) after the recent integration of Jammu & Kashmir with the country by scrapping the territory’s special status.
Union minister Jitendra Singh, who hails from Jammu & Kashmir, said at an event there on Wednesday that the next agenda of the government is to retrieve PoK and make it part of India.
The government is committed to taking back PoK. A resolution in this regard was unanimously passed in Parliament as early as 1994 by a Congress-led government, Singh said.
According to Gen Rawat, it is up to the government to take the decision. Other institutions will follow its directions, he said.
Apart from Singh, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, Home (Interior) Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had expressed similar views on PoK.
Gen Rawat’s comment on PoK did not reflect extreme patriotism bordering on jingoism. It only revealed the reality when a nation has to sometimes assert itself to get back what rightfully belongs to it.
To another question on Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi blurting out the truth that Jammu and Kashmir is part of India, Gen Rawat said that is the reality.
On the situation in Jammu Kashmir, he said local residents should give a chance to the security forces and civil administration to bring peace in region which had been facing terrorism for 30 years.
This peacekeeping role of the army is as important as their task of taking back PoK. So far, the strong military presence in the region and their alertness have paid off. Not a single bullet has been fired since Aug 5 when the special status to Jammu & Kashmir was removed.
In separate raids this week, the army on Monday arrested eight Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists in Sopore for launching a poster campaign to instil fear among people and stop them from resuming their business. Another LeT terrorist, who attacked the family of a fruit trader, was killed in Sopore.
Despite the poster campaign, apple trucks are moving out of Sopore which is a clear sign of normalcy returning to Jammu & Kashmir.
Three Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists were arrested in Kathua on Thursday as they were trying to smuggle in a truckload of arms and ammunition.