SAYING THAT there is a need to “avenge” the “barbaric” acts carried out by the Pakistani Army and terrorists against Indian soldiers, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Saturday that it is time to “give it back in the same coin”, while refraining from resorting to “similar barbarism”.
“Firstly, this kind of barbaric act that terrorists of Pakistan, with the support of the Army, has been carrying out regularly, is something which is not acceptable to us and cannot be allowed to carry on. Is there a need to change strategy? I would say yes,” he told mediapersons on the sidelines of the Haifa Day commemoration parade.
“We need to take stern action to avenge the kind of barbarism that terrorists and the Pakistan Army have been carrying out against our soldiers,” said Rawat. “What we need to do is something which I would not like to say openly, but suffice to say that yes, it is time to give it back to them in the same coin, not by resorting to similar kind of barbarism, but I think the other side must also feel the same pain and, that is something which we certainly will contemplate,” he said.
“With regard to whether this is on the agenda of the Combined Commanders’ Conference, I would say these are issues which we can tackle at our level. I don’t think we need to discuss this at such a high forum, which will discuss other strategic issues. So, this can be discussed separately, but not during that conference,” he said.
The Army Chief also said that Pakistan has suffered far more casualties than India in recent times. “Whatever is happening on our side is also being given to the other side. I would suggest, you know, if you look at the kind of casualties and damage that the other side has suffered, it is far more than what we have been suffering. Let me assure you that,” he said.
“But we have done it in a very professional and a military-like manner. As I said, we do not believe in any barbaric acts. We believe in carrying out every operation in the manner in which it needs to be conducted by our soldiers,” he said.
“Uske jo defences hai, usko hum kaafi hadh tak barbad karne me safal hue hai, aur isi ke karan usne is saal May mein ceasefire ki darkhwaast ki thi, jisko humne maana. Lekin agar is tarah ki karvahi Pakistan ki or se hoti rahi, to humme bhi, jaise main aapko bata chuka hoon, kuch anya karvahi karne ki zarurat pad sakti hai (We have been able to destroy their defences to a large extent, and it is because of this that Pakistan requested a ceasefire in May, which we accepted. But if such actions happen from Pakistan’s side, then we may also need to take some other action),” said Rawat.
He said the government had been fairly successful in ensuring that Pakistan was “isolated internationally”,
Reacting to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan terming India’s decision to cancel the foreign ministers’ meeting as “arrogant”, the Army Chief said: “I think that our government’s policy has been quite clear and concise. We have made no bones about the fact that talks and terrorism cannot go hand in hand. So, I think what we are following is our stated policy, which we have repeated time and again. Therefore, I think Pakistan needs to curb this menace of terrorism and not allow their soil to be used by terrorists against our people.”
While he declined to comment on the Rafale controversy, Rawat said any delay in acquisition of weapons was not good for the Army.
On the government’s decision to celebrate September 29 as “Surgical Strikes Day”, the Army Chief said the strikes had no precedent. Pointing out the difficulties in carrying out the strikes, he said those who participate in such action need a big heart and true grit.