India will give a calibrated ‘hard’ response to terror activities that will compel Pakistan to completely rethink its strategy on supporting insurgency and terrorism across the border, says new Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.
Gen Rawat, who as the vice chief was actively involved in the surgical strikes on terror camps across the Line of Control, also feels while it has to be ensured that ‘pain’ is felt by the terrorists and their supporters, the response need not be in the same manner always.
He brushed aside Pakistan’s threat of use of tactical nuclear weapons, saying such statements will not deter India when it comes to defending its borders.
“While we do agree that we have to retaliate and ensure that the pain is felt by the terrorists and their supporters, the response need not be the same every time,” the army chief told PTI in an interview in New Delhi.
Gen Rawat, who took over as the 27th chief on December 31, said, “We will calibrate the response in a manner it hits them hard and compels them to think in the long run whether they need to completely rethink their strategy on supporting insurgency and terrorism in our state.”
He was asked about Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement that enemy needs to feel the pain too.
Gen Rawat also said that not every incident needs to be seen from the same perspective as there is a ‘large number’ of terrorists operating in the valley who are always attempting to carry out some sort of violence against the security forces and citizens.
Asked about Pakistan’s threat of using tactical nukes, the army chief said nuclear weapons are weapons of deterrence.
“And if Pakistan is reviewing their strategy on use of nuclear weapon, it is something that they have decided to strategise,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s statements does not find favour either with India or with the international community.
Gen Rawat said one will have to wait and see what call Pakistan takes finally.
He said that the government, which decides the nuclear policy, may not be deterred by the threat in case India is forced to get into a confrontation with Pakistan along the borders.
Responding to a question on whether India needs to revisit the ‘no first use policy’, Gen Rawat said all policies are subject to review.
“Any policy that is made is subject to analysis and review. If a review is necessitated and it is felt that this review is necessary, we will go along with the government,” he said.
He said India is a democracy and nuclear policy is not decided at his level but by the government.
“There are various guidelines that have been formulated and it will be issued. But if a review has to be taken, directions will come from the hierarchy,” he said.
He also spoke extensively on modernisation of the army and said ‘time has come to imbibe new technology and adapt them to weapon systems and equipment that we wish to bring and induct into the armed forces’.
Admitting that while not everything can be made in India, he said the army is also looking at collaborating with some of the international firms manufacturing weapons and finally looking at transfer of technology which will give a boost to domestic industry.
Image: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI Photo