Pakistan: Ready for all kinds of ‘external aggression’

RSTV Bureau
FILE: File Photo of Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif.  Photo - PTI

File photo of Pakistan Army Chief Raheel Sharif (Photo: PTI)

Pakistan is at it again. The country’s Army Chief General Raheel Sharif has made a veiled attempt at warning India of an “unbearable damage” in case there is a war. Sharif’s statement seems to be a veiled reply to Indian Army  Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag, who a week ago had said that India needs to be ready for short wars.

At a speech at the Army headquarters in Rawalpindi on Sunday, Sharif said that there will be “unbearable damage” in case there is a “long or short” misadventure by an “enemy”.

Though Sharif did not name anyone specific, the reference was obvious as his remarks came against a statement made by Indian Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag. General Suhag had said last week that the Indian Army was prepared for “swift, short nature of future wars”.

“Let me reiterate that our Armed Forces stand fully capable to defeat all sorts of external aggression….If the enemy ever resorts to any misadventure, regardless of its size and scale – short or long – it will have to pay an unbearable cost,” Sharif said at an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with India.

“Armed forces of Pakistan are fully capable of dealing with all types of internal and external threats, may it be conventional or sub-conventional; whether it is cold start or hot start. We are ready,” said General Sharif.

The General also called Kashmir an “unfinished agenda of partition” and said the dispute over the region should be resolved in accordance with the UN resolution which calls for a plebiscite.

Re-iterating Pakistan’s stand on the Kashmir issue, General Sharif also said in his speech that the issue cannot be left in the back-burner. These remarks come against the backdrop of increased tension between India and Pakistan. Last month, NSA-levels talks were cancelled between the two countries over the agenda of the meet. India insisted that the meet should only discuss terror, while Pakistan held that the NSA talks should discuss all issues including Kashmir.

Of late, both countries have also accused each other of cross-border firing. Several Indians soldiers and civilians have died near the LoC. Even today, a villager was killed and one more was injured in shelling from the Pakistani side along the LoC in Poonch.

In his speech, General Sharif also reached out to Afghanistan. Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan are also at an all-time low after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani alleged that militants based in Pakistan were responsible for repeated terror attacks in Kabul which killed about 50 people.

Sharif said that Pakistan made “concerted and sincere efforts for bringing peace in Afghanistan but certain inimical forces are bent upon undermining our efforts.”

Recently the US too pulled up Pakistan over the Kabul attacks. The US, in clear terms conveyed to Pakistan that they should take concrete steps against the Haqqani network which are said to be behind the Kabul attacks.