India's Deputy Minister of Defence on Tuesday backed a recent statement by the country's Army Chief saying the armed forces would take steps to reclaim Pakistan-controlled Kashmir if it received orders from the government to do so.
Deputy Minister of Defence Shripad Naik supported Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane’s first statement to the media after assuming charge of his office on 31 December 2019.
“That is their (army’s) zeal. His (General Naravane’s) statement is not inappropriate. The government will give due consideration to this thought," the ANI news agency quoted Minister Naik as saying.
Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik on Army Chief's statement that army will take action if receive orders to reclaim PoK: Inka toh jazba yahi hai, inka yeh bolna galat nahi hai par sarkar iss baat par nishchit taur se gaur karegi pic.twitter.com/oQMNKbfYOZ— ANI (@ANI) January 14, 2020
General Naravane had said that Indian security forces were ready to take appropriate action to gain control over the Pakistani side of Kashmir. His statement came five months after India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said he expected India to gain physical control over the Pakistan-administered part of the Kashmir region one day.
“There is a parliamentary resolution that the entirety of Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India. If Parliament wants it, then that area (Pakistan administered Kashmir) also should belong to us. When we get orders to that effect, we'll take appropriate action,” General Naravane told media in New Delhi on 11 January.
“The Line of Control (LoC), the military-controlled de-facto border that separates India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, is very active and the Indian armed forces assess all intelligence alerts related to that part of the country very seriously,” Naravane said.
The Pakistan government is yet to react officially to General Naravane’s statement, though the Information Minister of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir Mushtaq Minhas responded with a “We are waiting” tweet.
Historically tense relations between India and Pakistan, which both control Kashmir partially but claim it in full, hit a new low last summer when New Delhi revoked the seven-decades-old temporary special autonomous status accorded to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August 2019. The state is now divided into two federally administered territories, which Islamabad describes as a blatant violation of the 1972 Simla Agreement and the UN Conventions of 1948 and 1949.