NEW DELHI: Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Tuesday that the Army is committed to maintain cordial relations with the general public of Jammu and Kashmir even as the armed forces are prepared to deal with any threat from Pakistan.
Rawat was speaking at a seminar on cutting edge technology infusion into defence at the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers here.
"The relations of the armed forces with the general public of Kashmir used to be very cordial in the 70s and 80s. We will keep good relations with the general public. It would be great if that kind of camaraderie between the Army and general public begins again. We used to meet the general public without guns at that time," said Rawat. The Kashmir Valley is under the grip of unprecedented security deployment at present to foil protests following the withdrawal of special category status to the state.
Rawat said the country had nothing to fear irrespective of statements like the one issued by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan that a Pulwama like incident might take place again in Kashmir following the reading down of Article 370 of the Constitution.
"We are always prepared for any kind of eventuality and we are always on the alert. There is nothing to worry from statements like these," said Rawat. A suicide bomber killed 40 CRPF personnal at Pulwama in February. The Indian Air Force then bombed a major terrorist hub in Pakistan.
Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic relations with India since Article 370 was axed by the Indian Parliament and a legislation passed to divide the state into two union territories. Bilateral trade between the two countries have also been suspended.
Imran Khan had told a joint session of the Pakistan Parliament that a Pulwama like incident might happen again as a result of the recent political developments in Kashmir.
"Attacks like Pulwama are bound to happen again. I can already predict this will happen. They will attempt to place the blame on us again. They may strike us again, and we will strike back," Khan had said.()