NEW DELHI: Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday again resorted to threaten Pakistan over alleged cross-border attacks, saying India will give Pakistan a reply “sooner rather than later” for the February 10 terror attack on a military camp in Jammu.
Six soldiers and a civilian were killed in the attack in Sunjuwan by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) fighters. Soon after the incident, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that Pakistan, which she accused of backing the attackers, would pay for its “misadventure”.
“Pakistan thinks it is fighting a war that is paying them dividends but we have several options, including surgical strikes,” the army chief had said in an interview on Wednesday, without giving details that would compromise India’s tactical and strategic response.
Indian COAS said that he would order a ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC) as soon as Pakistan stops sending militants to India. “The Indian Army will honour the ceasefire and de-escalate tensions the day Pakistan stops sending terrorists across the line of control,” Rawat said, referring to the 2003 agreement put in place as a confidence-building measure.
Ceasefire violations at the LoC have spiked over the last year. There were 860 such violations recorded in 2017 from either side, as compared to 271 the previous year, according to data.
Asked about the January 27 firing in Shopian, in which three protesters were killed by army bullets at a time when the PDP-BJP government had withdrawn cases against first-time stone-pelters on the suggestion of the Centre’s interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma, Rawat said: “The cases were withdrawn as a goodwill gesture but what goodwill are they showing? The pelting continues.”
He defended the military action, saying stone-pelters were hampering military operations.