'Indian Army provoking war through careless statements'

 Army Chief Bipin Rawat delivers a lecture at the KM Cariappa Memorial Lecture in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat has been repeatedly “provoking war” through “irresponsible” statements and endangering regional peace, Pakistan Army has said after he described PoK as a "terrorist-controlled" part of Pakistan.

In his closing remarks at the Field Marshal KM Cariappa memorial lecture in New Delhi on Friday, Rawat also asserted that Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have been under illegal occupation of Pakistan.

"The territory (PoK) occupied by Pakistan is not controlled by the Pakistan establishment but it is controlled by terrorists. PoK is actually a terrorist-controlled part of Pakistan," the Indian Army chief said.

He also said that attempts are being made by Pakistani terrorists to disrupt resumption of normalcy in Kashmir after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 to withdraw the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Reacting to Rawat’s remarks, Pakistan military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, in an overnight statement, said the Indian Army chief was repeatedly issuing irresponsible statements to fortify his candidacy for the newly proposed post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

“Indian COAS repeatedly provoking war through irresponsible statements endangering regional peace for electioneering of political masters,” Ghafoor said, adding that he was hoping to become Indian CDS “at the cost of the professional military ethos.”

“From fake surgical strike to-date his only success has been to turn Indian Army into a rogue force and getting them killed,” Ghafoor tweeted.

Though there was no immediate comment from the Indian Army to Ghafoor's statement, a senior official said the Indian Army does not react to blatant lies and outlandish allegations.

Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner from the country after India revoked the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two union territories on Aug 5.

Rejecting Pakistan's reaction, India has categorically told the international community that its move on Kashmir is an internal matter. India maintains Kashmir is a bilateral issue with Pakistan and no third party has any role in it.

Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India for its decision to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcate the state into two union territories.

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