Afghan-Pakistan Border 'Equally Unstable' as LOC, Will 'Come & Bite Them', Warns Indian Army Chief
18:48 GMT 21.10.2021 (Updated: 14:40 GMT 06.08.2022)
The 2,670 kilometre-long Durand Line has never been recognised by Afghanistan. But since the country was taken over by the Taliban, Islamabad has reportedly blocked crucial border-crossings, including at Torkham, because of a possible refugee exodus as well as fears that radical militants might infiltrate Pakistan from the neighbouring country.
India's Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane has warned Islamabad that its border with Afghanistan
is "equally unstable" as that between India and Pakistan.
"It is going to come and bite them. They have been fishing in troubled waters. They will realise that," remarked Naravane.
The Indian general made his observations on Thursday from the India Defence Conclave 2021, a security conference in New Delhi.
Naravane, in charge of the world’s second-biggest military force, was answering a question about a possible connection between recent spurt in terrorist activity in Jammu and Kashmir and the takeover of Afghanistan
by the Taliban, which is seen as being close to Islamabad.
“It's too early to draw that conclusion,” said Naravane, when asked whether Pakistan was now able to free up military assets from its western border and divert them to its frontier with India.
The observations came against the backdrop of civilians being killed
by militants in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as a rise in encounters between the Indian security forces and commanders from several banned terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). In October alone, at least 11 civilians have been killed in targeted attacks.
21 October 2021, 06:23 GMT
and Pakistan share a 3,323 kilometre-long border, which includes the Line of Control (LoC) which divides the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir from the Kashmir region under Islamabad’s control. The heavily militarised LoC has, over the years, witnessed frequent exchanges of fire between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
In February this year, India and Pakistan signed a ceasefire agreement.
Naravane said that the ceasefire resulted in a “lull” at the LoC as well as led to a decrease in “infiltration attempts” into India from Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The Army chief also said that the “militant activity” in Kashmir also reduced after February.
“There were no ceasefire violations between February and the end of June. However, from the end of June and July, there has been an increase in infiltration and other militant activities,” he remarked.
“A number of infiltration bids have been attempted. We have been able to foil quite a few of them. But, definitely, there has been an increase in activities in the past two, two-and-a-half months or so,” the Indian general added.
He expressed confidence that India had the military capability to tackle these challenges, pointing out that Indian forces “have a strong counter-insurgency and counter terrorism-grid in place”.
The Army chief said “that there is no denying the fact” that Pakistan was to be blamed for the increase in militancy and terrorism in the region.
“Without their support, terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir won't flourish… There is not an iota of doubt that it is a state-sponsored terror activity,” said Naravane.