Have several options, better than surgical strikes, to teach Pak a lesson: Rawat

‘Terrorists frustrated with Army operations’

Will like elections to happen in J&K

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Sept 26: In a stern warning to Pakistan that came just three days ahead of second anniversary of highly successful surgical strikes against Pakistan, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat today declared that armed forces have several options open including surgical strikes to teach Pakistan a lesson even as he maintained that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism is biggest challenge to the country.
However, he stated that surgical strikes are not the only options before the Army but they have several other better options for tackling cross-border infiltration and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
In two interviews to national news channels, Gen Rawat said: “Terrorism emanating from Pakistan is biggest challenge to the country but the troops were fully prepared to deal with any eventuality’’. However, he didn’t disclose what strategy the armed forces were planning to adopt in order to tackle cross-border terrorism. However, he threw enough indications of a major military action in future if the situation warranted.
“There was a need for another surgical strike on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC). I won’t deny this. But surgical strikes are not the only option with us. We keep reviewing the situation and prepare our strategy accordingly. We can’t disclose how and when, but we will certainly take a decisive action whenever needed,” Gen Rawat declared.
The Army chief said: “Peace can come, insurgency and cross-border terrorism can end if Pakistan Government headed by Imran Khan makes honest effort in this direction. Till the time the Pakistan Government remains under the clutches of its Army (ISI), peace will remain a distant dream.’’
Asserting that Pakistan-backed terrorists were utterly frustrated with Army’s counter-terror operations in the Kashmir valley in which several top terrorists had been eliminated, Gen Rawat observed that recent kidnappings and killing of armed forces personnel, civilians and J&K policemen indicated that the terrorists were losing ground.
Praising the officers and jawans of the armed forces, he said that the country is fully prepared to deal with any eventuality and to protect the national borders.
Rawat said that surgical strike is a weapon of surprise and must remain so while hinting that the security forces will respond when the appropriate time comes.
He backed the Government’s decision to cancel talks with Pakistan, asserting that talks and terror cannot go together.
Notwithstanding call for ceasefire by Pakistan, Gen Rawat said infiltration from across the border persists and stressed that this cannot be allowed to continue and appropriate action has to be taken to deter terrorists from disrupting peace in the Kashmir valley.
“They have been carrying out barbaric acts and Pakistan Army is used to doing this. It is not the first time that they have done it,” the Army chief said in response to a question on the killing of a BSF jawan and mutilation of his body in Ramgarh sector of Samba district along the International Border recently.
While revealing that he had never met his Pakistani counterpart Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Gen Rawat said that the former has the capability of ending the proxy war between the two countries, cross-border infiltration, terrorism and all turbulence along the India-Pakistan borders.
“However, in view of Gen Bajwa’s reported provocative statements, the chances were grim that the bloodshed will end in J&K,’’ he asserted.
To those seeking evidence of the 2016 surgical strike, Gen Rawat urged “please trust your armed forces and believe in what they do and say.’’ He added that for the Army conduction and operation is priority and not taking evidence of the strike.
Gen Rawat, while pitching for the inclusion of latest technology in modern warfare, said continuous upgradation of the armed forces, weaponry, logistic support is needed to sharpen the combat capabilities of the armed forces. .
Despite the continuous barbaric acts committed by Pakistan on the Indian border, Gen Rawat made it very clear that India will not hand ‘punishment in the same manner’, while reiterating that options are available to hit back on the enemy.
“I have said there are options available, and what options can be undertaken are always planned and the execution when necessitated will be done. These kind of barbaric acts which are carried out by the terrorists are completely supported by the Pakistani Army and the ISI,’’ he asserted.
“When the time come they’ll be punished, but not in the same manner, I mean if the Indian army ever punishes or the security forces ever punish, we do not carry out such barbaric acts. We are a very professional Army. All acts that we conduct or any actions that we take are completely within the framework of Geneva conventions,” Gen Rawat asserted.
On Municipal and Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Gen Rawat said: “We would like the elections to happen as it is for the benefit of the people. On the one hand, the local population has been complaining about the governance of Kashmir and has been talking about unemployment, lack of job opportunities; they have been talking about development. If the Panchayat elections go through, then all these issues will be addressed because the power devolves to the people, jobs will be available and development activity according to the wishes of people can continue in the Valley”.