— Indian COAS Bipin Rawat says there’s always ‘collateral damage’ in war
Indian Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bipin Rawat has said that the Indian Army sees no harm in ‘drone strikes’ in Jammu & Kashmir and across the Line of Control (LoC) if the civilian and international community is willing to accept “collateral damage”.
These comments were issued after Pakistan extended an olive branch and initiated the construction of Kartarpur corridor for visa-free travel of Sikh pilgrims on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor which connects Narowal’s Gurdwara Darbar Sahib to Dera Baba Nanak situated in India’s Gurdaspur district.
Rawat was delivering the Ninth Y.B. Chavan Memorial Lecture at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi on the subject of ‘hybrid conflict’.
Adding that Kashmiris should be prepared to incur damages, Gen Rawat threatened that the strikes may go even beyond the Line of Control (LoC) towards Pakistan.
Later, responding to questions from the audience, he added: “In your own nation, your people get concerned about collateral damage so much – when you are fighting this kind of warfare, I think you have to accept that collateral damage will happen. It is war. If that is something which we can accept, then there is just no problem in using these kind of weapons.”
Earlier in September, Gen Bipin had made a similar remark in an interview with an Indian media outlet, in which he had said that “as soon as we get our government’s approval, we will start the war.”
It is pertinent to mention that an Indian delegation is currently in Pakistan which arrived a day earlier to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of Kartarpur corridor.
The unprecedented event of Kartarpur border opening can be termed as another achievement for Pakistan on diplomatic and moral grounds against India, which has continued the hostility as its Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj declared that “opening of Kartarpur corridor does not imply beginning of any bilateral dialogue with Pakistan”.
With many hailing the opening of Kartarpur corridor a “victory of peace”, India also turned down Pakistan’s invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, saying the “bilateral talks are linked with curbing terrorism, not Kartarpur corridor”.