Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Amidst tensions on the border with Pakistan, Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Monday rejected allegations that the Indian Army was not retaliating strongly during ceasefire violations by its South Asian neighbour.
Speaking to media at the annual press conference on the enhancement of combat power and operational readiness in the Indian Army, General Singh said that the Indian Army makes attempts to control the situation at the border and not escalate it.
Any militant who crosses the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir will be fired at, General Singh said.
His comments came as reports in the Pakistani media blamed India for violating the ceasefire and firing at a civilian near the LoC.
He, however, added that "attempts are on to ensure ceasefire agreements are adhered to by both sides. It is our endeavour to control it, not escalate it".
"If rules are followed by our neighbours, we follow them too. If rules are broken, we won`t sit on it, we will break them too," he said.
"We will pay Pakistan back in the same coin," added the Army chief.
He also noted that the frequency of ceasefire violations have decreased ever since the meeting between the Director General Military Operations of both the countries was held in December 2013.
"Ceasefire violations have continued. Since the agreement on ceasefire violation there has been a reduction in the ceasefire violations. After that these ceasefire violations have been for infiltration bids," said General Singh.
"Our forces respect the laws of Geneva Convention. We do act. Our forces retaliate is a professional way," he added.
He further said that there is zero tolerance towards human rights violation. "Our rules of engagement are based on those followed by a civilised society."
When asked to comment on AAP leader Prashant Bhushan`s statement to withdraw troops from J&K, the Army chief refused to make a statement, saying as the head of the Army, he never commented on politics.
General Singh further voiced his opposition against tampering with Armed Forces Special Powers Act in J&K and added that Army must stay in the state. "The military viewpoint (on AFSPA) is that we have to wait for some time to monitor the situation. A decision will be taken only after that."
"We should wait for conditions to improve before making changes to the national strategy regarding the Army deployment in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
He also warned of a spillover from Afghanistan in J&K in 2014 when US troops pull out, saying intelligence inputs allude to this.