Army chief General Bipin Rawat has said surgical strikes have sent the message that the Line of Control will remain sacrosanct as long as Pakistan does not vitiate the atmosphere, The Times of India reported on Monday.

“It is no longer going to be hide and seek,” he told the newspaper, when asked about the Balakot air strikes in February and the “surgical strikes” across the Line of Control in 2016. “If we have to go across, we will, through the air or the ground route or both. The red line has been very clearly drawn as to what will be the future course of action.”

Rawat lashed out at Pakistan for allegedly sponsoring terrorists. He claimed that Islamabad called for jihad in the state after the Union government scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status. “It is a tacit acceptance of their support to terrorism in J&K,” said the general. “You cannot develop this kind of a machinery to spread terrorism overnight…It was always there. There are terror training camps in Pakistan, though they keep on shifting them. Fighting a proxy war with us is the state policy of Pakistan.”

He dismissed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s multiple warnings about a nuclear war between the two countries. Khan most recently made the remark at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday. Rawat said nuclear weapons were not used to fight war, and said Khan’s statements depicted an “inappropriate understanding of employment of strategic weapons”. He also questioned if the world community will ever allow the deployment of such weapons.

The Army chief claimed Pakistan was desperate to send people across the Line of Control to instigate violence in Kashmir but added that the security forces were ready to deal with the infiltration attempts.

India’s actions in the region led to Pakistan stopping trade relations with Delhi. Pakistan also downgraded diplomatic relations and wrote several letters to the United Nations. India has refused to hold dialogue until Pakistan stops supporting terrorists.

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