The reported remarks by the Indian Army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, about the country rejigging its war doctrine to factor in the possibility of a “two-front” war continue to generate much heat and excitement in Pakistan quite in marked contrast to the complete silence in India.
From the highest in the land to random columnists and drawing room conversationalists, General Kapoor’s statements are being dissected at every level, being projected as an indication of the growing say of the Indian Army in policy-making, and even being described as a “threat of war.”
On Monday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made his contribution to the sum of opinions being expressed about General Kapoor at the official level in Pakistan.
“I will call it absurd ... and very irresponsible,” he told journalists in Karachi. “I was very surprised when I read this in the media.”
The Minister said Pakistan “will not accept pressure,” and stressed that the country wanted to normalise the situation with India through resumption of the composite dialogue.
On the one hand, New Delhi’s stand was that good progress had been made under the composite dialogue process, and, on the other, it was hesitant to restart this very process, Mr. Qureshi pointed out.
Last week, the Foreign Office, Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Tariq Majeed, made separate comments on Gen. Kapoor’s reported statements.
Gen. Majeed said the reported remarks were “outlandish,” and if true, betrayed a lack of strategic acumen in the Indian Army.
Opposition politician Mushahid Hussain Sayed went a step further and demanded that New Delhi sack its Army chief for making “irresponsible statements.”
The secretary-general of the PML(Q), which was the ruling party during the rule of General Pervez Musharraf, said New Delhi “must immediately clarify whether the irresponsible war-mongering statement of General Deepak Kapoor was his own view or represents the official position of the Government of India.”
Describing Pakistan and China as India’s “peaceful neighbours,” he told a press conference that the statements were “the height of irresponsibility,” and the United Nations Security Council must take note of them as they were distracting attention away from the efforts against terrorism.
Pakistan was “united in its resolve to stand behind its armed forces to defend the country from any threats of war,” and rejected “the militaristic, jingoism” of the Indian Army chief that represented “the outdated hawkish mindset of the Indian establishment,” said Mr. Sayed.
In an editorial on Monday, Dawn newspaper said: “New Delhi ought to note that the Pakistan Army is engaged in an all-out assault on the militants who are our mutual enemies. Raising the temperature, hinting at war no less, serves no constructive purpose whatsoever at this critical juncture. It should be obvious that there can be no winners in a nuclear conflict between the two countries — both will be wiped out, that much is guaranteed.”