NEW DELHI: The Army has war-gamed any possible action in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and has accordingly made plans for it, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Sunday.
Rawat, who shared the development during an exclusive interaction with ET, said Pakistan will avoid a conventional war with India because it does not have adequate capabilities for it. He added it will instead continue to increase its proxy war against India.
The Army chief also said Pakistan has acknowledged supporting terrorism in J&K and it is doing this under the garb of helping the local population. Pakistan is hungry for ‘attention’ and is adamant about ensuring third-party intervention on the Kashmir issue, he added.
While speaking about possible action in PoK, Rawat said: “The Army’s 15 Corps performs war games and it is not only on defending land. Some of them would involve going across. Even 14 Corps does such war games. So, there are plans.”
The Srinagar-based 15 Corps, besides being largely involved in counter-terrorist operations, has operational tasks against India’s western neighbour. The 14 Corps, based in Leh, is involved in operations not only on the western front, but on the eastern one with China as well.
The officer also said the focus should now be taken away from J&K and be placed on the other side. “It is important to take the heat off J&K. It would have to be taken to the other side — PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan,” he said.
Earlier this month, Rawat had said the Army was always ready for any action in PoK, should the government pass orders for it.
Several top leaders in the government have recently commented on PoK as well. Defence minister Rajnath Singh said last month that talks with Pakistan will only happen on PoK. A few days ago, external affairs minister S Jaishankar made it clear that PoK was a part of India and New Delhi will have jurisdiction over it one day.
When asked about a conventional threat from Pakistan, Rawat explained, “It is not strong conventionally. Pakistan will avoid conventional and increase proxy. He will incite us through proxy and compel us to take action. He wants attention and third party or multiple party intervention.”
On Pakistan’s response following the withdrawal of Article 370, the officer said: “Pakistan is saying that it will fight India through terrorism. It is an acknowledgement of its support to terrorism in J&K under the garb of supporting people of J&K.”
Rawat, while referring to Pak PM’s statement during his US trip in July that about 40,000 terrorists were present in the country, said it had activated terrorist launch pads along the LoC. “They may attempt to send some terrorist modules into our country and say it is due to the anger of the Kashmiris.”