By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - The Pakistan Army has cautioned India against launching of any attack on its territory and vowed a "befitting" response, amid tensions between the two nuclear rivals over Kashmir.
The warning was issued in a meeting of military commanders, headed by the Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, at the army headquarters, in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, said a statement issued by the public relations division of the army on Thursday.
Indian Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat on Monday had alleged that the “terror camps” India’s Air Force had destroyed earlier this year in a cross-border attack in the Pakistani town of Balakot have been reactivated. Many analysts believed that the statement implied that India was preparing for another such strike across the borders.
“Pakistan Army is fully configured, prepared and determined to defend honor, dignity and territorial integrity of motherland at all cost. Kashmir is jugular vein of Pakistan and no compromise shall be made which denies right of self-determination to our brave Kashmiri brethren”, the statement said, quoting the army chief.
The meeting acknowledged effective highlighting of Kashmir dispute at the UN General Assembly recently by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Heightened tensions between the two arch rivals have further flared up in August, after India’s scrapped the special status of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.
Since 1954 up until last month, the Indian constitution guaranteed Jammu and Kashmir a special status, under which it enacted its own laws. The constitutional provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which prohibited outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.
The Indian-administered region is under a clampdown since Aug. 5, when the Indian government revoked its special status.
Hundreds of people, mostly political leaders, have been detained or arrested by authorities since the move.
Kashmiri leaders and residents fear the move is an attempt by India to change demography of the state, where some groups have been fighting the Indian rule, for either independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.
India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan, who have fought two wars over Kashmir.
According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.