Pakistan Army should make terrorism its enemy as this will lead to internal and external peace, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat has said.
In an interview with CNN-News18 channel, Gen Rawat said the Indian Army has not put women in combat roles where they can get isolated, where there is a large male population and where contact can take place with an adversary.
He said there are women engineers in the Army carrying out mining and de-mining operations, and manning the weapon systems in Air Defence.
“We have not put women in frontline combat,” he said.
Gen Rawat said it is not as if Army is not ready, but there are practical difficulties and asked if a woman, who is a commanding officer, can be away from duties for six months.
“Do I put a restriction on her to say that in during command tenure, you will not be given maternity leave? Can I say that? A ruckus will be created,” he said.
Gen Rawat said if Pakistan can show it is not incentivising terror, it will be a step forward.
“It is time for them to take steps. Unlike what they say, we should not take two steps. Let’s take a step each. There is terrorist leadership openly making statements about India. They threaten us and say that disunity, terror will be the new normal in India.
“Pakistan needs to see what is happening inside their country. Army owns Pakistan and the army has to be in power. For that you need an enemy, or else you’re like the European Union nations. To remain in focus, you need an enemy. They have chosen a wrong enemy. They’ve chosen India. They have been caught out. They should make terrorism the enemy. Then there will be both internal and external peace,” Gen Rawat said.
He was asked about the call for improving ties made by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Gen Rawat said Pakistan is inciting Kashmiris and aiding infiltrators but is in constant denial.
“They doesn’t respond to repatriation requests. They will not recognise their own, so we are in a confusion regarding who’s the terrorist and who’s an army man from Pakistan,” he said.
Answering a query on Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Gen Rawat said he keeps taking feedback about him.
“They should bring some positives first, then only we can have some conversation. They have made inflammatory remarks, they say things that incite people… This isn’t an environment to work. We know they are funding these terrorist activities,” he said.
To a query on China, he said the neigbouring country is validating its concept of theatre commands.
“It (theatre commands) is something they are validating but when they are carrying out validation, any adversary should be alert, so we should be alert. We have to watch and keep a check. As of now they are just validating theatre command. They are doing a lot of movement for the western zone theatre of theirs as it faces us. Since both countries have to settle their border issues, both have to remain alert,” he said.
Gen Rawat also said that surgical strikes carried out against terror launch pads in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir in September 2016 were celebrated because these were difficult.
“Not recognising the feats of these people is a bad idea. Some recognition with less overhyping is not a bad idea,” he said.
Gen Rawat said that the government’s acknowledgement of Army’s operations has also brought the acceptance of the international community.
“These operations have gotten the acceptance and now people want more of this. The confidence arises from the successful execution and acceptance of the first operation.”
Responding to a query about the Karatpur corridor across the border with Pakistan, he said India has to be very sure of the security concerns.
Answering another query, he said that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has asked them to refer to her as “Raksha Mantri” and not as “madam”.
“I think she was quite strong and curt in saying you’ll refer to me as Raksha Mantri, which I think was a good sign because she says don’t look at me as a woman. Because when we say ma’am, we think she’s a woman. I think she’s come as strong as any male counterpart. When she has to make a decision, she does it in a very strong manner,” he said.