India can go beyond Balakot air strikes, warns Army Chief Bipin Rawat

The Army General also said that terrorists were trying to create a facade of a lockdown and that all restrictions would be eased gradually in Jammu and Kashmir.

Published: 23rd September 2019 11:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2019 05:00 PM   |  A+A-

Army Chief Bipin Rawat

Army Chief Bipin Rawat. (Photo| P Jawahar, EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Months after the terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot was bombed by Indian Air Force, Pakistan very recently "reactivated" it, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Monday.

"Balakot has been reactivated by Pakistan very recently. This shows that Balakot has been affected, it had been damaged and destroyed. And that is why people have got away from there and now it has been reactivated. It highlights some action was taken by the Indian Air Force at Balakot and now they have got the people back there," General Rawat said.

Rawat, who was in Chennai to inaugurate the Young Leaders Training Wing at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai, stated that 500 terrorists were waiting to cross the border.

"We will keep the enemy guessing and this time. Why repeat (Balakot). We may go beyond that," Rawat added.

On February 27 this year, IAF fighters flew deep into Pakistan to bomb a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror facility at Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The action came after the February 14 suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, which killed over 40 CRPF personnel. Since then tensions between India and Pakistan had escalated.

The Army Chief also responded to questions on ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. The Army General said, "Pakistan violates ceasefire to push terrorists into our territory. We know how to deal with ceasefire violations. Our troops know how to position themselves and take action. We are alert and will ensure that maximum infiltration bids are foiled."

Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat hands over the flag to OTA commandant Lieutenant General Sanjeev Kanal. (Photo | P Jawahar, EPS)

Meanwhile, rejecting that there was a clampdown in Kashmir, Bipin Rawat claimed that everything was normal in Kashmir, "Shops remain open. Only the shutters are down but shops are functioning. Nobody is starving. Life is normal."

The Army General alleged that terrorists were trying to create a facade of a lockdown and that all restrictions would be eased gradually. "There is a communication breakdown between terrorists in the Kashmir Valley and their handlers in Pakistan but there is no communication breakdown between people to people", he said.

The Army Chief also spoke about Islam saying, "I feel the interpretation of Islam by some elements who possibly want to create disruption is being fed to a large number of people. It is not that the religion is bad but the manner in which it is interpreted for whatever reasons, it is affecting people who listen and get carried away and swayed by such messages."

"I think it is important we have preachers who convey the correct meaning of Islam in whatever form it was written by those who wanted Islam to be preached in a proper manner," he added.

Highlighting the importance of securing the country's borders, Rawat said that every nation has to secure its borders. "We have unsettled borders along the northern front and partially unsettled border along the western front. We have to be all the more alert to ensure that no intrusion takes place along the border," he said.

"We also know that there is state-sponsored terrorism which is being sponsored by our western neighbour and terrorists do come in from that side to create violence in our territory particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. Not that the other states are devoid of terror, it is because of our intelligence agency that we are able to pick up the signs and foil a lot of incidents of violence," he said.

(With ANI and PTI inputs)

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