Will destroy all posts from where Pak launches terrorists: Gen Rawat



NEW DELHI, Jan 12: The armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir have been strongly retaliating to Pakistan's ceasefire violations and the aim has been to inflict pain on Pakistan Army to make it realise the cost of its support to terror groups, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat said today.
He said terrorists in Pakistan are "disposable commodity" and Indian Army has been focusing on punishing Pakistan Army posts which often provide cover fire to push terrorists into India.
"Our approach has been to ensure that Pakistan Army feels the pain," he told a press conference, adding the Pakistani side has been feeling the pressure of India's aggressive retaliation.
He said Indian Army has been targeting Pakistan posts which support terrorists to infiltrate into India, adding Pakistan has been calling for de-escalating the situation.
"Unless Pakistan Army feels the pain, it would continue to send terrorists who are disposable commodities for them. We will continue to destroy the Pak posts pushing the terrorists into India. Pakistan has suffered three-four times higher casualties due to the retaliatory fire," he said.
Gen Rawat said South Kashmir was focus of the Army's counter-terror operations after killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in 2016. But now, the focus will be shifted to areas in North Kashmir, he said.
He also said that the Army can call Pakistan's nuclear bluff.
"We will call the bluff. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us and the country gives us a task, we are not going to say that we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff," he said.
The Army Chief also said it would be premature to assess the impact of US President Donald Trump's decision to put pressure on Pakistan to act against terror groups operating from its soil.
He said India will have to continue its policy of dealing sternly with cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, notwithstanding the pressure on Pakistan by the US.
"It would be premature to talk about what is going to be ultimate impact of this pressure on Pakistan. I think we should wait and watch," he said.
On January 1, President Trump had accused Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but "lies and deceit" and providing "safe haven" to terrorists in return for USD 33 billion aid over the last 15 years, seen as a major policy initiative to pile up pressure on Islamabad to contain terror groups operating from Pakistan's soil.
"I do not think everything is going to be hunky-dory and Pakistan is going to be isolated and it is going to be declared a terrorist state. There are compulsions on the US also to maintain a kind of a relationship with Pakistan and Pakistan understands it," Gen Rawat said.
At the same time, he observed that Pakistan has felt the pressure for its "religious intolerance".
"It is a step by step process. It is too premature to say that everything is going to be in our favour and the US will do our job," the Army chief said.
Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat today said India will not allow its territory to be invaded by anyone, asserting that China may be a powerful country but India is not a weak nation either.
The time had come for India to shift focus to its northern border, he said, and added that the country was capable of handling China's assertiveness along it.
Amid aggressive Chinese efforts to increase its influence in the region, the Army chief said India cannot allow its neighbours to drift away to China.
"China is a powerful country but we are not a weak nation," Rawat told reporters here.
To a question about Chinese incursions into India, he said, "We will not allow our territory to be invaded by anyone."
Referring to the US' warnings to Pakistan over its handling of terrorism, Rawat said India will have to wait and see its impact.
Terrorists are a disposable commodity in Pakistan and the Indian Army approach has been to ensure that it feels the pain, he said.
Social media and government schools in Jammu and Kashmir are spreading a "disinformation campaign" resulting in radicalisation of youth, Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat claimed today, and called for "some control" over mosques and madrasas in the state.
He said a "major revamp" of the education system was needed in the state to deal with the problem.
Rawat said the issue of exercising some amount of control over mosques and madrasas to check the flow of disinformation was being looked into.
Addressing a press conference on the eve of the Army Day, Rawat said each classroom in government schools in Jammu and Kashmir has a separate map of the state besides that of India which sowed the seeds of thought of some kind of "separate identity" among the children.
"The damage done to us is through the social media. A very large amount of disinformation campaign is being spread in Jammu and Kashmir which is radicalising the youths through the social media and through the schools," he said.
"The other issue is the madrasas and masjids -- what is being informed to them (the students) or incorrectly informed to them is through the madrasas and masjids. I think some controls have to be exercised there and that is what we are looking at." He, however, did not elaborate on what kind of control he was suggesting over such institutions.
Rawat also suggested that some stone throwers in Kashmir were youth from government schools, and stressed on the need to reform the education system.
"If you go to any Kashmir school, You will find two maps -- one is the map of India and one is the map of Jammu and Kashmir. There are always two maps in every classroom. Why should there be a map of Jammu and Kashmir. If you are putting a map of Jammu and Kashmir, then you may as well put map of every state.
"What does it mean to children that I am part of the country but I also have a separate identity. So, the basic, grassroots problem lies here is the way the education in Jammu and Kashmir in government school has been corrupted," said Rawat.
He said students from schools like DPS were not found involved in activities like stone-pelting, and added
that is why the 'goodwill schools' run by the Army are accorded higher status.
The Army chief noted opening more public schools, more CBSE schools, was the way forward.
"In the schools in Kashmir -- the government schools -- what is being taught. I will only be happy if you can visit some of the schools and attend the classes and see what is being taught," Rawat said, without elaborating.

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