Whether it be Rafale or S-400, Pakistan Army is fully prepared and ready to thwart any Indian aggression, said Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar on Thursday.
The chief military spokesperson was addressing a press conference at the ISPR headquarters in Rawalpindi on the eve of Independence Day where he discussed a range of issues.
Responding to the question about India’s recent addition of French Rafale aircraft to its arsenal, the DG ISPR said New Delhi is one of the top defence spenders in the world and also engaged in arms race.
“Conventional balance in the region is being distributed due to difference in Pakistan and India’s military spending,” he said while urging the international community to take notice of India’s defence spending.
“The Pakistan Army’s defence budget has reduced over the last 10 years and we did not even adjust inflation.”
Despite all this, Maj-Gen Iftikhar said the Pakistan Army’s operational readiness remained unaffected by all these factors and it has capability to deal with all challenges.
“Whether they [Indian] buy 5 or 500 Rafale jets we are absolutely ready and we don’t have any doubt over our capabilities and we have proved it in the past as well,” he added.
Expressing solidarity with the Kashmiris, the DG ISPR said it has been a year that people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIJOK) are braving atrocities and worst human rights violations.
“Indian occupation forces are committing genocide against the people of IIJOK.”
He said Pakistan has raised Kashmir dispute at all international fora and Indian atrocities against the Kashmiris have been unmasked by international organisations and media, he added.
The DG ISPR said people of occupied valley have been subjected to all kinds of torture and self-esteem of Kashmiri women have been destroyed by the Indian forces. “Kashmiri youth have been killed extra-judicially in the guise of cordon and search operations.”
President-elect of UNGA Volkan Bozkir during his recent to Pakistan has linked the Kashmir dispute with the peace and stability of South Asia region, said Maj-Gen Iftikhar.
Despite UN secretary-general appeal, the DG ISPR said that India has intensified ceasefire violations targeting civilian population. “The Pakistan Army always gives befitting response to Indian violation but being a professional army we only target their military posts.”
Commenting on the political map, the military’s spokesperson said the recently launched political map of Pakistan was an assertion of Pakistan’s claim and expression of the country’s intent about the Kashmir region.
“There is nothing unusual about this map our claim has been the same ever since Pakistan came into being.”
COAS visit to Saudi
Pakistan relations with Saudi Arabia are “excellent” and army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia is planned visit and it is related to military-to-military ties between the two countries, the DG ISPR said.
General Qamar would visit the kingdom this weekend, officials said, seeking to calm diplomatic strains over IIOJK as financial support for Islamabad hangs in the balance.
“People of Pakistan feel proud about their relationship with Saudi Arabia and we have historic and excellent ties… nobody can doubt about the centrality of Saudi Arabia to the Islamic world,” Maj-Gen Iftikhar added.