Army chief General Dalbir Singh on Tuesday slammed Pakistan for its continued support to the proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir, despite suffering casualties due to terror on its soil. He said India would have to "wait and watch" if Pakistan army had had “a change of heart” after the Peshawar school massacre.
In a related development, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said in Lucknow India would take “proactive steps” to deal with the proxy war.
Singh warned J&K could also feel the heat of withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and India was keeping a close watch on the unfolding events.
“Terrorist network can extend from Afghanistan to our side and J&K is one area where the effect could be felt. We are aware of this possibility,” Singh said at his annual press conference ahead of Army Day on January 15.
He said 2014 saw the highest number of terrorists being neutralised in the state, with the army recording 104 kills and other security forces another six. The figure stood at 65 in 2013.
Singh said the demarcation of the line of actual control (LAC) could be the first step towards resolving the intractable border dispute with China.
He said the border was peaceful with India following a policy of “constructive engagement,” but stressed that there was little likelihood of progress in resolving the boundary issue unless the LAC was defined. “If it is marked, there will be no problems of transgressions and face-offs,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought a clarification on the LAC during Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s visit to India last September. Singh said threats and challenges had been mounting because of “active borders.”
He said the army’s modernisation was focused on seven critical projects including artillery guns, anti-tank guided missiles, choppers, upgradation of tanks, night vision devices for mechanised forces and new assault rifles. But the modernisation effort could be hit, with the government slashing the budget for buying weapons by Rs 13,000 crore, of which the army’s share was Rs 4,500 crore.