- Scrapping of Article 370 is "a historic step", said General MM Naravane
- "It will help integrate Jammu and Kashmir with the mainstream," he said
- He took over from General Bipin Rawat last month
The scrapping of Article 370 is a historic step that will help Jammu and Kashmir integrate with the mainstream, Army chief General MM Naravane said today. Delivering a sharp message to Pakistan, the army chief also said the move had "disrupted proxy war by our western neighbour".
The government in August ended special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two union territories.
"The scrapping of Article 370 - a historic step - has adversely affected the plans of the western neighbour and its proxies. It will help integrate Jammu and Kashmir with the mainstream," General MM Naravane said at an event in Delhi to mark the 72nd Army Day.
The armed forces have "zero tolerance against terrorism", he said, adding that it has "many options to counter those who promote terrorism".
"We will not hesitate to use them...We will respond in equal measure," he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The Army chief, who took over from General Bipin Rawat last month, has taken a tough line on Pakistan and its support to terrorists targeting India.
Last month, hours after assuming charge, he had issued a strongly-worded warning to Islamabad. "We have evolved a strategy of resolute punitive response against sponsored terrorism. If Pakistan does not stop state-sponsored terrorism, we reserve right to pre-emptively strike at sources of terror," General Naravane had told PTI.
He also spoke of "multiple options across spectrum of conflict to respond to any act of terror sponsored or abetted by Pakistan".
The General said he would ensure that his forces are kept "operationally ready" to meet any threat posed by terror camps that continue to exist across the Pakistan border.
Earlier this month, he had said that the Article 370 decision had improved law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir. "After abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir there are less incidents of violence. The figures and facts reflect that law and order situation has improved over there," he said.