ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday ordered higher troop readiness in view of regional security environment and closer ‘synchronisation’ with government policies for winning the fifth generation war being faced by the country.

“COAS stressed upon the need to enhance combat readiness levels in the wake of evolving strategic and regional milieu,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on the corps commanders’ conference held at the General Headquarters.

Gen Bajwa chaired the meeting, which is a monthly fixture at the army headquarters for reviewing the operational matters and the security situation. The meeting was attended by the principal staff officers posted at the headquarters and the corps commanders.

The statement only referred to the aggravating situation in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, intensified ceasefire violations and the situation in Afghanistan among the developments taking place in the region. There was no mention of the fresh clashes between China and India in the Ladakh region in their protracted stand-off, which has now entered its fourth month.

Firing of warning shots by Indian security forces in the clash that took place on Monday after crossing the western section of the Line of Actual Control near the southern bank of Pangong Tso Lake is being viewed as a serious provocation by India that has raised the risk of a conflict. It was the first time that Indian army fired shots in the disputed border region in nearly four decades, breaking the tacit understanding about not using firearms.

The development points towards India’s growing frustration. Pakistani officials avoid directly commenting on China-India border dispute, but keenly follow the events as they have an important bearing on strategic dynamic vis-à-vis Kashmir and India.

“Increased ceasefire violations (CFVs) along LoC targeting civil population by Indian military and blatant human rights violations (HRVs) in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) were noted as major cause of concern for regional peace and stability,” the ISPR said.

The Army on Wednesday reported martyrdom of a soldier in ceasefire violation in Bedori sector along the LoC. It said Havaldar Liaqat, 39, resident of Chakwal district, embraced martyrdom during exchange of intense fire. Indian side reportedly suffered losses.

The situation in Afghanistan, where a surge in violence is being witnessed ahead of the expected intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha, is another cause of concern. The ISPR said it impacted Pakistan’s security dynamics.

Pakistani troops have been overstretched because of internal security deployments and Covid-19, locust control and flood relief duties.

“COAS appreciated high state of morale in the army and directed commanders to ensure welfare of troops during prolonged/extensive operational and internal security deployments,” the ISPR said.

The other major concern noted by the commanders was the fifth generation warfare being imposed on the country by inimical forces.

Gen Bajwa at a ceremony held to mark the Defense Day had said that the fifth generation war, also known as the hybrid war, had been started to malign the country and its armed forces and create chaos here. He said that the Army would win this war with the cooperation of the nation.

At the commanders’ conference, the army chief called for protecting “vital interests” of the country through “synchronisation with government policies”.

Hybrid warfare in which cyber-technology, propaganda, fake news and disinformation are used by the hostile forces to exploit the internal fault lines of the country has been regularly pointed out as a major challenge by the army since 2018.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2020



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