Sending out a stern message to Pakistan, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat on Saturday said there should be no doubt that “any misadventure will be repelled with a punitive response”. The Army chief warned that any future conflicts would prove to be more “violent and unpredictable” and the Army would not take into account the human factor.
Addressing a seminar in New Delhi to mark the 20th year of the Kargil conflict, Rawat said, “Pakistan Army time and again resorts to misadventure, either through flawed proxy wars and state-sponsored terror or intrusions. The Indian Army stands resolute to defend our territory. Let there be no doubt that any misadventure will be repelled with a punitive response.”
“Future conflicts will be more violent and unpredictable where the importance of human factor shall remain undiminished. Our soldiers are and will remain our primary assets,” he added.
The rise of non-state actors and the readiness to use terror and other irregular methods of fighting have become a new norm, he said.
The Army Chief also noted that the addition of cyber and space domain has changed the battlefield scenario.
He asserted that no act of terror will go unpunished. “Surgical strikes post-Uri and Balakot (terror attacks) have amply demonstrated our political and military resolve against terror. Any act of terror will not go unpunished,” he said.
Eight hundred terrorists were killed since 2014, of which 249 were in 2018, the Centre had informed Parliament earlier this month. In a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State in the Defence Ministry Shripad Naik said 104 terrorists were killed in 2014, 97 in 2015, 140 in 2016 and 210 in 2017.
On the eastern front, Rawat said there had been no intrusion by the Chinese in Ladakh’s Demchok sector.
“There is no intrusion,” Rawat said on the sidelines of an event.
The Army Chief’s statement comes amidst reports of Chinese soldiers crossing the Line of Actual Control (LAC) last week after some Tibetans hoisted Tibetan flags on the occasion of Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6.
“Chinese come and patrol to their perceived Line of Actual Control…we try and prevent them. But at times there are celebrations that take place at the local levels. Celebrations were going on our side by our Tibetans in the Demchok sector. Based on that, some Chinese also came to see what was happening. But there has been no intrusions. Everything is normal,” the Army chief said.
India and China share a disputed border and the armies of the two countries were engaged in a stand-off for 73 days in 2017 in Doklam.