Indian Army chief says country has a strategic interest in Pakistan

A top Indian army officer has said India has a “strategic interest” in Pakistan and has no plans to abandon it.

The comment came as the army chief warned Pakistan against encroaching on Indian territory and said the military was ready to take any action necessary to protect India.

“I think it’s important that we maintain our strategic position in Pakistan,” said Gen Arun Jaitley.

He made the comment at the launch of a programme for strengthening the Indo-Pak defence alliance in New Delhi on Sunday, ahead of the country’s Republic Day celebrations.

Gen Jaitay said India was willing to protect its own borders in the event of any encroachment by Pakistani forces.

“We are ready to protect our borders in any case, but we are also ready to safeguard the interests of our people in any form.

And we will protect them if required,” he said.

He also said the army had not received any formal notification from Islamabad that Pakistan was moving into areas it had occupied in the region.

Gen Srikanth, who also heads the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was speaking at a function organised by the Indian Institute of Science and Technology (IISc) in Ahmedabad.

The military has already conducted more than 5,000 joint exercises with Pakistan since the ceasefire brokered in August 2015, including a five-day stand-off in the Uri sector of the disputed Kashmir region in September 2017.

Pakistan has also conducted at least one military exercise with India in the Kashmir region each month since January 2019, including at the border point of the Uri area.

India has denied it is moving into Pakistan, but Gen Jaitray said it had been preparing for the move for some time.

“In recent times, the Indian Army has been training at its border with Pakistan, including for exercises,” he added.

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