Army Chief Bipin Rawat on Thursday said that the Indian armed forces are ready for a “two-and-a-half front war”, in an interview with ANI. The “two-and-a-half fronts” refer to Pakistan, China and internal security threats.
The Army chief also said that the situation in Kashmir would normalise soon, and claimed Pakistan was using social media to stoke unrest in the Valley. “Pakistan is spreading disinformation among the youth of Kashmir with doctored videos and messages,” Rawat said. “This is further supported by some of the people in the Valley who spread it and glamorise the young boys who have joined terrorist organisations.” He added that “effective mechanisms are available to diffuse the adverse situation [in Kashmir]”.
Multiple infiltration attempts have been thwarted at Gurez, Machhil, Naugam and Uri Sectors within the last 48 hours, a statement by the Indian Army’s public relations officer said. Seven armed intruders have been eliminated so far.
Messaging platforms such as WhatsApp have come under increased scrutiny especially for their alleged role in inciting youth of the Valley to join stone-pelting protests during the Army’s anti-militancy operations. Repeated mobile internet bans and curfews in the Valley have done little to curb the protests.
Kashmir has been on the boil after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by Indian security forces on July 8 last year. A fresh round of streets protests, including stone pelting against security forces during their operations against militants, had begun last month.
The Indian Army has also claimed it has faced continued ceasefire violations by Pakistan at the Line of Control, the de-factor border separating India and Pakistan. On Thursday morning, one soldier was killed as the Army foiled an alleged infiltration bid along the LoC in Nowgam sector. Two militants were also killed in the operation.
On China however, Rawat backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that not a single bullet had been fired on the Indo-Chinese border in the last 40 years.
The Indian Army, which is attempting to scale up its capabilities to match up with those of China, is in the process of acquiring advanced weapons and systems from other countries. India has purchased Howitzer guns from the United States, Rafale fighter jets from France, and advanced surface-to-air missile systems from Israel, among other weaponry.