Pakistan on Thursday strongly condemned recent remarks by Indian chief of defence staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat, in which he threatened Pakistan with “heavy losses” if it attempted to take advantage of India’s ongoing conflict with China along its northern border.
In a statement, the Foreign Office asked Gen Rawat to focus on his job instead of making provocative statements and “pointless accusations” against India’s neighbours.
Speaking at a seminar hosted by the US India Strategic Partnership Forum last week, Gen Rawat spoke of what he called a threat of “coordinated action” by the militaries of Pakistan and China along the northern and western borders of India, which is engaged in a border dispute with Chinese troops in the Ladakh region, Hindustan Times reported.
Analyse: India’s two fronts
“We find the threat from Pakistan will mainly be in the form of a proxy war, but should any threat develop along our northern borders Pakistan could take advantage of that and create trouble for us on the northern border,” the general was quoted as saying by The Economic Times.
He claimed that Pakistan would “suffer heavy losses” if it undertakes any “misadventure”.
Responding to his remarks, the FO said such “belligerent statements” from India’s senior military leadership were reflective of how the BJP-RSS mindset, “a dangerous mix of extremist ideology, hegemonic ambitions and obsession with Pakistan”, has permeated Indian state institutions.
It said that in response to any geopolitical or military setback, the Indian government tended to double down on its “miscalculation and bellicose rhetoric” instead of learning from its mistakes.
“India’s defence capabilities have been embarrassingly exposed to the world not [long] ago,” the FO statement said, referring to India’s recent losses in its conflict with China.
It said “belligerent rhetoric has accomplished nothing for India other than conflict and humiliation”.
“Rather than whipping up anti-Pakistan sentiments, the Indian leadership should focus on peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes, particularly the Jammu and Kashmir dispute as per international law and the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions,” the press release added.
Referring to cooperation between Pakistan and China, the FO said: “We are ‘All-Weather Strategic Co-operative Partners’ and remain committed to promoting peace, stability and development in the region.”
Indian diplomat summoned
Also on Thursday, the FO summoned a senior Indian diplomat to register Pakistan’s protest over the latest ceasefire violations by Indian border forces along the Line of Control (LoC), which left three civilians seriously injured on the night of September 8.
Due to “indiscriminate and unprovoked firing” by Indian forces in Bedori sector of the LoC, 57-year-old Muhammad Altaf, 27-year-old Muhammad Aftab and 40-year-old Tahir Iqbal, all residents of Banjori village, sustained serious injuries, the FO said.
It said Indian troops along the LoC and the Working Boundary (WB) have been continuously targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-calibre mortars and automatic weapons. They have committed 2,199 so far this year alone, resulting in 17 deaths and serious injuries to 171 civilians.
The FO underscored that “such senseless acts are in clear violation of the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding, and are also against all established humanitarian norms and professional military conduct”, a press release said.
“These egregious violations of international law reflect consistent Indian attempts to escalate the situation along the LoC and are a threat to regional peace and security,” it added.
The diplomat was informed that by raising tensions along the LoC and the WB, India cannot divert attention from the “grave human rights situation” in Indian-occupied Kashmir, according to the statement.
The FO called upon India to respect the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding, investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations and maintain peace along the LoC and the WB. The Indian side was also urged to allow the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its mandated role as per the UNSC resolutions.