Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday said the terrorist camp in Balakot, where the Indian Air Force had undertaken a “surgical strike”, has been reactivated by Pakistan, PTI reported. Rawat claimed that around 500 infiltrators were waiting to enter India.
“Balakot has been reactivated by Pakistan very recently,” Rawat said at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai. “That shows that Balakot has been affected. It had been damaged and destroyed. And that is why people have got away from there and now it has been reactivated.”
Rawat said the Army was prepared to deal with ceasefire violations and will ensure that maximum infiltration bids were foiled.
When asked whether there would be a repeat of another strike like the one in February, he said: “Why should we repeat the same action,” according to India Today. “Why not go beyond that? Let them keep guessing.”
Hostilities between the India and Pakistan peaked in February with the first aerial combat between its air forces in 48 years.
The Balakot strikes were conducted in retaliation against the February 14 Pulwama attack in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force Personnel were killed. The attack was carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammed.
‘No clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir’
Rawat dismissed reports of a clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir, and claimed it was part of terrorists’ propaganda. The army chief claimed that violent episodes were curbed and militants were kept at bay because the disruption in their communication with handlers in Pakistan.
He listed out several instances of local people going about their business and said flights were also operating in Srinagar. “You can go to apple orchards and you can see heaps of apples that have been plucked and packed into boxes and being transported out of valley...” PTI quoted the Army chief as saying. “They want to show and project to everybody outside that there is a clampdown.”
Rawat also lashed out at Pakistan for allegedly sponsoring terrorists, and claimed that it was attempting to push militants into India. “...ceasefire violations are done to make our vigil fail...so these ceasefire violations keep happening,” he said. Mechanisms were in place to tackle the violations and claimed neighbouring country targeted civilians to support militant infiltration, Rawat added.
Incidents of violence were also being thwarted with the help of intelligence inputs, the army chief claimed. He said it was “important to incorporate technology in surveillance”, and added that the Army was focused on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
In response to a query, Rawat accused disruptive elements for being behind misrepresentation of Islam and said it was necessary to have preachers who convey the correct meaning of the religion.
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