Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday said that Gilgit-Baltistan and parts of Kashmir are illegally occupied by Pakistan, and said that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is a “terrorist-controlled country”.
Delivering a lecture in Delhi, Gen Rawat said, “When we say Jammu and Kashmir, the complete state of Jammu and Kashmir includes PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan… PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan become an occupied territory – a territory which has been illegally occupied by our western neighbour.”
He said that Pakistan had not objected when Article 370 had been introduced, but because PoK is controlled by terrorists, the country has been so vocal since Article 370 was abrogated.
#WATCH Delhi: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat says, “…The territory which has been illegally occupied by Pakistan is not controlled by the Pakistani establishment, it is controlled by terrorists. PoK is actually a terrorist controlled part of Pakistan.” pic.twitter.com/jS8lGVddJw
— ANI (@ANI) October 25, 2019
Gen Rawat said that when Article 370 was brought in, “it was clearly mentioned that it was temporary in nature”, and when it “was introduced with the word temporary, there was no objection from Pakistan”. He said that Article 370 was even amended twice.
“Why is it that Pakistan has suddenly has woken up and has raised the ante on Article 370?” the Army Chief asked, before answering it himself, saying, “It is because the illegal territory that has been occupied by Pakistan, illegally occupied by Pakistan, it is not controlled by the Pakistani establishment. It is controlled by the terrorists.”
The Army chief emphasised, “PoK is actually a terrorist-controlled country, or a terrorist-controlled part of Pakistan.”
J&K, he said, has “always been a part of our great nation”, and in Article 1 of the Indian Constitution, he said that “it is mentioned that Jammu and Kashmir as a whole is a part of India”.
Gen Rawat’s comments on India’s rights over Gilgit-Baltistan follow a series of statements made by the political leadership in the same vein.
Delivering the speech in Parliament on August 6, a day after Article 370 was abrogated and J&K was bifurcated into two Union Territories, Home Minister Amit Shah had said, “Kashmir is an integral part of India. When I talk about Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it.”
Later, on August 18, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said, “After the Article 370 and 35A (moves), one our neighbours is going crazy and knocking on the doors of all the nations of the world. Some people believe that talks should be held with Pakistan but as long as Pakistan supports terror, there will be no talks. If there will be talks, it will be on PoK.”
In September, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that “PoK is part of India and we expect one day to have physical jurisdiction over it”.