The Pakistan Army on Saturday said it is ready to respond to “any external aggression” after Army chief General Bipin Rawat said India should take stern action to avenge the actions of terrorists and the Pakistan Army in Jammu and Kashmir.

“It’s time to give it back to them in the same coin, not resorting to a similar kind of barbarism,” Rawat had said.

Pakistan Armed Forces spokesperson Asif Ghafoor, in an interview to Dunya News, said the Indian government was trying to divert attention from “graft scandals” like the Rafale deal. “And in [a] bid to divert attention from their domestic issues, Indian Army is hurling irresponsible statements of war,” he said.

“Pakistan is a nuclear power and our desire for peace should not be misconstrued as our weakness,” Ghafoor said. He said Pakistan has “positively responded” to peace initiatives. “War is never a solution to any problem,” he said, according to Geo News. “It’s India who backs out from dialogue. For peace, dialogue is the best course. This we always offer from position of strength, not weakness.”

“A war takes place when either side is unprepared for it.” he said. “We are always ready and prepared for war,” Ghafoor said, while terming Rawat’s statement “irresponsible”.

Ghafoor added that Pakistan is a peace loving country and has played “unparalleled role as forces of peace in the region”, according to The Express Tribune. “We are on positive trajectory of peace and stability after having gone through efforts over the last two decades,” he said. “We understand value of peace and shall not allow it to be reversed,” he said.

Ghafoor also dismissed allegations that Pakistan Rangers allegedly slit the throat of a Border Security Force jawan. “We categorically dismiss the Indian allegation,” he said. “We are a professional army. We can’t disrespect the body of a soldier even if he belongs to an enemy state.”