Pune: The Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat feels that Pakistan’s claim of taking strong steps towards good bilateral relations is contradictory unless there is a direct impact visible on the ground about its claims. The Army Chief added that a positive step from Pakistan is what is needed presently because India has a clear policy that terror and talks cannot go together.
Responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that if India will take one step forward towards friendly bilateral relations, Pakistan will take two steps forward, General Rawat said on Friday: “They (Pakistan) are saying you take one step, we will take two. There is a contradiction in what they are saying. One step from there should come in a positive manner, we will see if the step has an effect on the ground. Till then our nation has a clear policy- terror and talks can’t go together.”
Delivering a lecture during the National Defence Academy (NDA) Passing out Parade ceremony in Pune, the Army Chief said that over the years, Pakistan has turned itself into an “Islamic State”, adding that if they want good relations with India, they will have to turn themselves into a secular nation.
“Pakistan has made its state an Islamic State. If they have to stay together with India, then they have to develop as a secular state. We are a secular state. If they are willing to become secular like us, then they seem to have an opportunity,” General Rawat said.
Talking about the induction of women in the Indian Army in a front-line combat role, General Rawat said: “You will see an increase in the role of women in armed forces. We have not yet taken them in the front-line combat role. We feel we are not yet ready. Western nations are more open. Boys and girls are operating together in big cities here but people in the Army do not only come from big cities.”
He opined that keeping women officers in fields like language interpreter and military diplomacy would be more beneficial. “We are seeing if women can be given Permanent Commission. In some fields where we need permanency and male officers in a command-oriented Army don’t fit everywhere. Keeping women officers in fields like language interpreter, military diplomacy will be beneficial,” he said.