NEW DELHI: Sending a loud and clear message through early morning strike on Indian army establishment, terrorists conveyed it to Pakistan army that it will be business as usual on the Line of Control and International border despite the change at the helm. Lt. General Qamar Javel Bajwa on Tuesday took the reign of powerful Pakistan army replaced Raheel Sharif.
Terror strike gained significance as delegation level talks is scheduled between leaders of Indian and Pakistan on the sidelines of Heart of Asia Conference to be held weekend at Amritsar. Pakistan already announced the visit of Sartaz Aziz, Advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs to India for the conference.
Though Lt. Gen Bajwa in his address promised to improve the tense situation on the Line of Control soon, but his predecessor warned Indian security forces against adopting an "aggressive stance" in Kashmir and asserted that mistaking Pakistan's "policy of patience" for weakness would be "dangerous.”
This year has already been termed as the bloodiest year, as at least 75 security personnel have lost their lives in multiple terrorist operations in the state of Jammu and Kashmir since 2009.
Nearly 400 ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army have taken so far since the surgical strikes besides militants infiltrating and mutilating the bodies of two Indian soldiers in two separate incidents. The Indian Army retaliated and destroyed four Pakistan Army posts after the first incident of mutilation in October end followed by intense fire assaults after the second incident took place a fortnight back.
Pakistan Army Director General Military Operation (DGMO) called his Indian counterpart last week to protest against the killing of civilians in Neelam valley but the India denied and maintained the Army was only retaliating to Pakistan’s cross-border firing.
Indian army has already made apprehensions that the winter months will be “hot and violent.” According to an official, a change in guard of Pakistan will hardly change stand of terrorists operating from Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
Though Bajwa assured that he will try to normalise the LOC, officials said the new chief was heading the Rawalpindi base 10 Corps a few years back. This Corps looks after the LOC and militancy in Kashmir and therefore it will be unwise to expect a dramatic change in Pakistan Army’s policy vis-à-vis Kashmir, they maintained. In fact, during Bajwa’s stint in 10 Corps, Special Service Group (SSG) commandoes of Pakistan army had carried beheading of two Indian soldiers in January 2013.
Bajwa, an expert in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(POK) affairs, told media persons after taking charge as the Chief that "the situation at the LOC will improve soon." He sought support from the media to play a role in the keeping the morale of troops high adding he had a heavy responsibility on his shoulders.
Before the new assignment, he had served as Inspector General of the Training and Evaluation and as a major general led the Force Command Northern Areas. Bajwa also served in a UN mission in Congo as a brigade commander alongside former Indian army chief General Bikram Singh, who was also there as a division commander.