NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government’s plan to integrate Pakistan occupied Kashmir with India has been given a thrust with Army Chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane stating that the Army was ready to put it into action.
He told a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday that the Army will take action if it receives orders to reclaim PoK. He pointed out that there was a parliamentary resolution that all of Jammu and Kashmir, including the region occupied by Pakistan, belongs to India
“If Parliament wants it, then PoK should belong to India. It will take appropriate action, when the Army gets orders to that effect,” he was quoted by Times of India as saying.
He was echoing Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement that the only unfinished agenda with respect to Kashmir which needs to be discussed with Pakistan is PoK. Home Minister Amit Shah had also said on the floor of the Parliament that if anything regarding Kashmir needs to be discussed it is PoK.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had also reiterated in September that Pok "is a part of India", and "we expect one day we will have physical jurisdiction over it. General Bipin Rawat as Army Chief had also made a similar statement. Pakistan had reacted then accusing India of sabre-rattling.
The Parliament of India had passed a resolution in 1994 stating that Pakistan occupied Kasmir is an integral part of India. In this context, General Naravane's message is also a statement on the preparedness of the Indian army, say experts.
Analysts also observed that the statement clearly states that any such military action would be based on decisions taken by the political leadership. They also conclude that it is India's response to Pakistan for harping on Kashmir and trying to internationalise the issue.
Gen. Naravane had in in recent days spoken of India's right to "pre-emptively" strike sources of terror across the Line of Control -- comments that drew an immediate and sharp response from Islamabad.
Earlier Narvane had told a news channel: "We have our forces deployed all across the border, including J&K, and we have various plans, and if required, those plans can be put into action. We will carry out -- and carry out successfully -- any task that we are tasked to do."
Gen. Naravane, who took charge as the Chief of Army Staff on December 31, 2019, has stressed on the need to pay more attention to, and enhance capabilities on the China front, too. He has also said addressing human rights issues is a key priority. (with inputs from agencies)