Indian COAS’s aggressive blast
Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said the force was ready to call Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” and cross the border to carry out any operation if asked by the government. “We will call the (nuclear) bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff,” Gen. Rawat said. He was responding to a question during a press conference on possibility of Pakistan using its nuclear weapons in case the situation along the border deteriorates.
The Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan’s credible nuclear deterrence is the only thing stopping India from a war. The statement by the DG ISPR came a day after the Indian army chief’s assertion, in which, according to Indian media outlets, General Bipin Rawat said that Indian forces were ready to call Pakistan’s ‘nuclear bluff’ and cross the border to carry out any operation if asked by the government. DG ISPR responded to the Indian army chief’s assertion saying that such statements are unbecoming from a person of a responsible stature. Asked what if India undertakes any misadventure against Pakistan, Ghafoor said, “Well, it’s their choice. Should they wish to test our resolve they may try and see it for themselves”. The DG ISPR said that Pakistan has a credible nuclear capability, exclusively meant for threat from the east. “But we believe it’s a weapon of deterrence not a choice.”Responding to a question about New Delhi’s role in destabilizing Pakistan through state-sponsored terrorism, he said if India could overpower Pakistan through conventional engagement post-overt nuclearisation, it could have done that by now.”The only thing stopping them is our credible nuclear deterrence as there is no space of war between the two nuclear states,” the Pakistan Army general said.”We are a professional army, responsible nuclear state and resilient nation,” the DG ISPR said.”They must not remain in illusion,” he warned.
The Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence approved a resolution against the recent statement of Indian army chief. According to India media outlets, the Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat had said that his forces were ready to call Pakistan’s ‘nuclear bluff’ and cross the border to carry out any operation if asked by the government. The committee, in its resolution, stated that Pakistan will raise the statement of the Indian army chief on every diplomatic platform, and that the Pakistan armed forces are capable of giving a befitting response to India. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif earlier in his response to the statement said that it amounted to an “invitation for a nuclear encounter.”Describing the statement as “very irresponsible”, Asif said it wasn’t befitting of the office of the Indian army chief.
His comments about calling Islamabad’s nuclear bluff have provoked a response to the effect that such statements only worsen the tension. Even a limited war would physically break both countries and they may not recover for generations. A nuclear war is not winnable. Both sides know that. Gen Rawat suggested that India needed to shift focus from its border with Pakistan to that of China and spoke of pressure being exerted by Beijing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Indian army chief Gen Bipin Rawat has once again stirred controversy and arguably careless comments against Pakistan. The very idea of calling a “nuclear bluff”, as Gen Rawat has said of Pakistan, ought to give all right-thinking and sensible people in South Asia. With the army chief appearing to suggest that the Cold Start doctrine has become a key part of Indian military strategy against Pakistan, the danger of a general conflict between Pakistan and India is growing. Crossing the international border is an act of war, and Pakistan would simply have no option but to respond. Gen Rawat’s disturbing comments have also underlined the terrible state of Pakistan-India relations. The statements made by responsible Indian officials reflect a particularly aggressive tone. A sudden war of words remains a constant in Indo-Pak relations even during rare good times, but of late the statements made by responsible Indian officials reflect a particularly hostile tone and tenor. The Indian COAS’s repeated war crimes, there is real danger of the psychological warfare between the two nuclear tipped neighbours. Pakistan has tragic and bitter experience of Indian animosity and opportunism in 1971, and is now extremely watchful and confidently prepared for any danger and Indian misadventure.