In his first media briefing, ISPR chief Major General Babar Iftikhar said the Pakistan Army is ready to defend the nation against any threats.
Addressing the press on February 27, a year after Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jets that breached its border and captured pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.
Whenever the situation has called for it, the Pakistan Army and nation have fought with bravery, he said. He recapped last year’s events, starting with India’s February 14 accusations to the February 27 shooting down of the Indian planes.
“The enemy wanted to surprise us but instead were surprised themselves,” he said. Major General Iftikhar said on February 27, they are paying tribute to the nation’s martyrs and their families.
Wars are won with the trust of the people and the competence of the soldiers. There is no price on respect, he said.
Major General Iftikhar said Pakistan was well aware of all of India’s covert and overt conspiracies and is ready in all fields.
He discussed ceasefire violations along the Line Of Control and said India was using it as a distraction from what is going on inside its country.
He said in the last year there have been 384 ceasefire violations, with two civilians killed and 30 injured. They also target schoolchildren, he said.
In the past 17 years, the most casualties were reported in 2018 and the most violations in 2019, he said. Ever since the BJP came into power in 2014, these incidents have increased, he said.
The Pakistani military is responsible and only targets military targets, unlike the Indian military that targets civilians, he said.
We are taking India’s civil and military establishments’ statements seriously, he said.
We are, were and always will be with Kashmiris in their struggle for freedom, he said.
Major General Iftikhar said under the three-year operation Radd-ul-Fassad, 1,200 small and big operations were conducted, 150,000 intelligence-based operations were conducted, 17,000 terrorists were targetted and 450 tonnes of explosives seized.
We also shared intelligence with 70 countries, he said. The goal of the operation is a stable, peaceful and normalised Pakistan, he said.
The ISPR head said minorities are free in Pakistan and that the white in the flag is respected. He paid his respects to the sacrifices made by minorities in the country.
It has been a long difficult journey with a lot of success and a lot of sacrifices, said Major General Iftikhar. When Pakistan’ security and territorial integrity is challenged, we won’t back done, he said.
There is no space for war between two nuclear powers, he said. “If they do [start a war], the consequences will be unintended and uncontrollable,” he said. “Things can spiral out of control anytime.”
The ISPR chief said Pakistan prepares according to its capabilities, not its intentions, as those can change overnight. India’s capability is Pakistan-centric he said.
We look at that and are always ready, he said. But a nuclear fight would be mutually assured destruction, according to the ISPR head.
India’s military spending is in the top three in the world but Pakistan’s defence is strong, he said. There may be a big difference in the defence budgets, but with the same budget last year you saw the answer we gave, said Major General Iftikhar.