Army ready for BAT, limited action or war with Pak: Rawat

An image shows Pakistan army vehicles heading towards LoC.
An image shows Pakistan army vehicles heading towards LoC.

Army chief blames ‘instigators’ for curbs
Calls upon people to give peace a chance
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Sept 6: Amidst reports of massive buildup by Pakistan army on the Line of Control (LoC) especially across Poonch sector, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat has declared that whatever Pakistan wants-BAT action, limited action or war, the Indian Army is ready for it.
“I’m ready for whatever Pakistan wants. If it wants a BAT action, I am ready. If it wants limited action with India, I am ready and if it wants war with India, the Indian Army is ready,” Gen Rawat told a national English newspaper in an interview.
Gen Rawat’s stern message to Pakistan army came just a day after the reports that Pakistan army has shifted one full Brigade from peaceful Sialkot area of Lahore province to Bagh and Kotli sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) opposite Poonch district of Jammu region. Pakistan has also flooded the launching pads on the LoC with militants with a view to push them into the Indian territory.
Asserting that Pakistan has only exposed itself through its rhetoric, Gen Rawat said: “It was telling the world that it was not sending terrorists to India but by speaking up now, it is, in fact, owning up to its support of terror.
“You cannot prepare terrorists in 15 days. On the Line of Control, we remain ever prepared and in the Valley, we remain ever deployed”, he said.
On continued restrictions in some parts of Kashmir since August 5 following abrogation of special Constit-utional provisions of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories, the Army chief blamed “certain instigators” for continued restrictions.
“The minute the curbs were relaxed, there is trouble and the Valley is locked down again. The instigators are not allowing the benefits of the process of integration (through the nullification of Article 370) to come in,” he said.
Though he didn’t name the instigators, there have been reports that some sections of youth were forcibly closing down shops and not allowing public transport to move in some pockets of the Kashmir valley.
Backing timing of the Central decisions, Gen Rawat called upon the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the militants to give peace a chance.
“Another phase of violence was going to start and the timing was right because Pakistan was also under pressure of being placed on the black list by the Financial Action Task Force. I told the Government the Army would provide the military support it needed to implement the decision,” he said.
Asserting that there has been violence for 30 years in Kashmir and the people have gone through difficult times, the Army chief called upon the people to leave the anger behind and give peace a chance.
He said he was offering a “peaceful gesture” to the terrorists.
“We are not going after the terrorists because we don’t want a gunfight to vitiate the atmosphere. I don’t want to lay cordons and conduct searches, but we have to clap with both hands. Think about it and drop your guns. This generation has not seen peace,” he said.
On whether anger in the Valley would lead to more local Kashmiris joining the ranks of militants, Gen Rawat said, “Whether there are 300 or 500, we are concerned with their capacity to strike. If they strike, who will it affect? Violence is detrimental to the local Kashmiri and the loss is not of the Indian establishment.”
It may be mentioned here that amid tensions along the LoC especially in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri with ceasefire violations becoming a regular feature, Pakistan army has indulged in build-up along the LoC across Poonch district of Jammu region by shifting one complete Brigade of the Army there from peaceful Sialkot district of Lahore province.
Describing as significant the shifting of entire Brigade from peaceful area to the LoC, which was facing skirmishes between Indo-Pak troops since August 5 following abrogation of special Constitutional provisions of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, sources said Pakistan could use additional troops to escalate ceasefire violations on the LoC, push trained militants into Jammu and Kashmir for terror attacks and launch BAT (Border Action Team) attacks on the troops.
“There have been reports that Pakistan army has brought large number of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen militants to the launch pads on their side of the LoC with a plan to infiltrate them into the Indian territory to cause terror attacks,” sources said, adding that Pakistan army was in complete frustration due to failure of the militants to carry out any significant strike in the State post abrogation of special Constitutional provisions of Jammu and Kashmir by Narendra Modi Government.