Pakistani Army will remain India-centric, says Kayani


Rawalpindi : The Pakistani Army will remain “India-centric” until the Kashmir issue and water disputes are resolved, its chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, says.

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In a presentation to Pakistani media, Kayani made it clear that the army’s “frame of reference” for addressing the problems in the country included certain concerns that are India specific.

History, unresolved issues, India’s military capability and its “Cold Start” doctrine meant that Pakistan could not afford to let its guard down, quoted Kayani as saying.

“We plan on adversaries’ capabilities, not intentnons,” he added.

“The tough, matter-of-fact line on India was in stark contrast to that of Gen. Kayani’s predecessor, Gen. (retd) Musharraf, who tried hard to push for peace with India in his latter years in power,” noted.

“Gen Kayani, though, does not carry the dual burden of being president and the army chief, which perhaps explains the narrower, militaristic formulation of Pakistan’s posture towards India,” it added.

Kayani repeatedly highlighted the threat posed by India’s “Cold Start” doctrine, and sid it would permit the Indian Army to attack before mobilising and thus increasing the possibility of a “sudden spiral escalation”.

At the same time, Kayani pointed out that he did not have a one-dimensional view of security. Despite the fact that India’s defence budget was “seven times” that of Pakistan’s, “there has to be a balance between development and military spending”, he noted.

He also maintained that “peace and stability in South Asia should not be made hostage to a single terrorist act of a non-state actor”, a reference to the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

On Afghanistan, too, India featured in Kayani’s comments. Rejecting India’s reported interest in training the Afghan National Army and the country’s police force, he argued that Pakistan had a more legitimate expectation to do so.

“Taken together, Gen Kayani’s comments suggest that the possibility of a thaw in relations between India and Pakistan any time soon is low,” noted.