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Ready to call Pakistan's 'nuclear bluff', says Indian army chief

Ready to call Pakistan's 'nuclear bluff', says Indian army chief

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday said that the threat of CBRN (Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) weapons are becoming a reality.

"Unless Pakistan Army feels the pain, it would continue to send terrorists who are disposable commodities for them. Let's not expect United States to do what we are expected to do", said Rawat. "If given the task, we will not say we can not cross the border because they have nuclear weapons", he said.

Addressing the customary annual press conference of the Army ahead of the Army Day on January 15, General Rawat for the first time talked in detail about the India-China stand-off on the Doklam plateau along the tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China for over two months. "There are compulsions on the United States also to maintain a kind of a relationship with Pakistan and Pakistan understands it", Gen Rawat said.

On combating terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army Chief asserted that "We may have neutralised several terrorists but we have also caught 39 of them alive because we wanted to give them a second chance".

Referring to the USA warnings to Pakistan over its handling of terrorism, he said India will have to wait and see its impact. "But we are capable of (militarily) handling this assertiveness along the border...the terrain is to our advantage", he said.

He said the Army, having focused its operations in South Kashmir in 2017, would now shift its attention to areas in North Kashmir such as Baramulla, Pattan, Handwara, Kupwara, Sopire and Lolab.

Moreover, he said a hotline will be set up between the Indian and Chinese armies very soon.

To a question about Chinese incursions into India, he said, "We will not allow our territory to be invaded by anyone".

The stand-off was resolved after Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervened and took up the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hamburg during the G-20 summit previous year.

"The other issue is the madarsas and masjids - what is being informed to them (the students) or incorrectly informed to them is through the madarsas and masjids".

General Rawat also said that unlike the conventional military, CBRN combat requires operations in a "highly unpredictable" environment, where the adversaries may use "asymmetrical" means to counter India.