Spokesman for armed forces says Indian army chief’s statements are intended to distract world from protests over citizenship law
The spokesman for the Pakistan military on Thursday warned the Chief of Army Staff of neighboring India that the country’s armed forces would respond to any instances of “Indian misadventure or aggression.”
In a post on Twitter, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director-General Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor slammed recent “provocative” statements from Indian Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat. “Provocative statements and preparations for escalation along LoC by Indian COAS appear to be an effort, as usual, to divert world attention from widespread protests in India against CAB [Citizenship Amendment Bill],” he said. “[The] Pakistan Armed Forces shall befittingly respond to any Indian misadventure or aggression,” he added.
On Wednesday, Indian media quoted Rawat as alleging that the situation along the Line of Control—which divides Jammu and Kashmir between Pakistan and India—could “escalate any time.” He claimed the military was ready for any cross-border incursions. “We [Indian army] have to be prepared for the spiraling of the escalatory matrix,” he added.
New Delhi scrapped the special status of the part of Kashmir under its control on Aug. 5, placing the disputed region under a communications blockade that is still in place and deploying hundreds of thousands of troops to “ensure security.” Residents have said that the region has become a powder keg, which has the potential to explode at any time over the unilateral actions of P.M. Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.
More recently, India has been experiencing widespread, at times violent, protests over the passage of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. The law seeks to make the path to citizenship easier for non-Muslims who migrated to India before 2015 from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. Critics have slammed the law as being discriminatory toward Muslims, adding that by making religion a prerequisite for citizenship, New Delhi is eroding the country’s secular identity, as enshrined in its Constitution.