Editorial: Eliminate terror

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump came down heavily on terrorism at an event in the United States, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday said Pakistan has reactivated the Balakot terror camp very recently and about 500 infiltrators were waiting to sneak into India. The response to the terror camp getting functional again may go beyond India’s previous response by way of an air strike in February, he told reporters in Chennai at the Officers Training Academy. “Let me tell you, Balakot has been reactivated by Pakistan very recently,” he said apparently stating that the terror camp beyond the border has become operational again while answering a question on new terror camps.

The chief of Army staff, obviously pointing to the hiatus in terror operations at Balakot for several months following the cross border strike, said it highlighted the Indian Air Force’s action in February. Balakot had suffered damaged and was destroyed by the cross border strike and “that is why people have got away from there and now it has been reactivated,” he said. In March, Congress leader Sam Pitroda had asked the government to come out with ‘more facts’ on the Balakot air strikes and it had led to a political slugfest.

Asked about the response to the reactivation and if a repeat strike may be expected, he said: “Why must you expect repeat of a similar thing, earlier we did something, then we did Balakot, why must we repeat…why not keep the other side guessing as to what we will do; why tell him what we are going to do, why not keep him guessing, why say repeat, why not something beyond that.” To a question on the number of infiltrators waiting to get in, he said the numbers kept fluctuating based on the weather pattern. “These numbers keep fluctuating, but I would say yes there are at least 500 people who are waiting to infiltrate and that is the minimum number,” he said. As the ice has melted, the bid to infiltrate is towards the northern part of Jammu and Kashmir and when temperature falls such attempts were through areas less vulnerable to snowfall, he said. The Army has taken adequate measures to curb infiltration to the maximum extent by deploying more troops along the Line of Control, he said. Other areas, along the International Border were however being exploited for such purposes, he pointed out. This is the time to take tough action on terrorism and all steps should be taken to eliminate it from earth.

NT Bureau