Islamabad: Pakistan’s newly appointed army chief has said the military is ready to defend the country if attacked as he visited the Line of Control (LoC), which divides the disputed Kashmir region.
According to a statement issued by the military's media wing , Lieutenant General Asim Munir said, "Let me make it categorically clear, Pakistan's armed forces are ever ready, not only to defend every square inch of our motherland, but to take the fight back to the enemy if ever war is imposed on us."
“Indian state will never be able to achieve her nefarious designs,” he said.
India’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Munir made the visit days after he took charge of Pakistan’s powerful military.
India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in late October that New Delhi was ready to reach Gilgit-Baltistan, a semi-autonomous region in Pakistan. India says Gilgit-Baltistan is part of Kashmir and is illegally occupied by Pakistan.
Islamabad called Singh’s statement “ridiculous” and said it represents New Delhi’s expansionist mindset and hostility towards its neighbour. Both South Asian nuclear powers claim all of Kashmir but govern only parts of it. They have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan region.
Both sides frequently accuse one another of violating a 2003 ceasefire by firing and shelling across the Line of Control, a de facto border that divides Kashmir in two and is 740 km long. Following the renewal of the ceasefire, the LoC has been largely quiet since early 2021.
Pakistan’s generals retain a strong influence over security matters and foreign affairs, according to analysts.