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Going Rouge? Indian Army Chief attacks Pakistan’s ideological status


News Analysis |

Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that for Pakistan to have good relations with India, it needs to declare itself as a secular state. “The problem is that they (Pakistan) have declared themselves as the Islamic State, on the other hand, we are the secular state.

If they are willing to move toward a secular state model, then I see we have a chance of getting along”, General Rawat said. His remarks came in the press conference after he presided the passing out parade of Indian officer at Indian Defense Academy, Pune.

The perception that for good relations with India it is necessary for Pakistan to become a secular state is absurd as there are several Islamic states India enjoys good relations.

It is not the first time that Gen. Bipin Rawat has gone too far in his statements, stretching to a domain which is the prerogative of the Executive and Parliament as per the democracies in general. At the start of this year, he declared that illegal migration from Bangladesh was part of a “proxy game… very well played by our western neighbor [Pakistan], supported by our northern border [China] to keep the area disturbed.”

He also referred directly to a political party, the AIUDF, All India United Democratic Front a Muslim majority party presided by Badruddin Ajmal, as a beneficiary of this “proxy dimension of warfare.”

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The statement was condemned not only by the countries alleged to carry out proxy war, but he also faced criticism coming from the Indian state as well. Last year, the image of a civilian tied to the front of an Indian military Jeep stirred the internet across the world and once again Indian Army was the subject of criticism both internally and externally. Gen. Rawat went ahead to give a medal to Major Leetul Gogoi, the officer responsible for the shameful act, even though an army court’s inquiry was underway against him.

Who really makes the Policies in India?

Pakistan has always been schooled for its civilian leadership having a marginal authority when it comes to determining the policies regarding the statecraft. It is mainly due to the country’s history of a decade of martial law but it is not the case with India, where the most undemocratic event in its history is Sonia Gandhi’s emergency of 1975.

Then an irresponsible and certainly out of the line statement coming from Indian Army chief regarding foreign policy has raised certain questions. It is obvious when the Army is involved in the long conflicts, the opinion of its leadership is regarded while making the policies.

Pakistan has continuously been demanding the peace and negotiations as the only way to move forward vis-à-vis regional stability and prosperity.

But the statement of an Army chief at point blank about the merits of the bilateral relation gives an impression that the institution is either more powerful than it appears or it is being used a tool to pursue the diplomatic and political objectives by Indian political establishment.

Secular States a must for Good Relations with India?

Even the part of the statement where Indian Army Chief said that India is a secular state is debatable. It may be true in theory, but with the rise of Hindutva ideology in recent years it is not the case in practice. The perception that for good relations with India it is necessary for Pakistan to become a secular state is absurd as there are several Islamic states India enjoys good relations.

India enjoys the cordial bilateral and economic with Saudi Arabia, the fundamental Islamic state in the world. Therefore, the context of the statement seems irrational and completely irresponsible.

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Pakistan has continuously been demanding the peace and negotiations as the only way to move forward vis-à-vis regional stability and prosperity. The civilian and military leadership in Pakistan is one page, to work things out diplomatically and apparently, Indian civil and military establishment is also on the same page to instigate insecurity and chaos.

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