A top Pakistani military spokesman accused India of fueling terrorism “using Afghan soil” in an interview published Sunday, citing alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, currently in Islamabad’s custody, as an example.
Authorities arrested Jadhav in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, on spying charges.
Pakistan has long accused India of supporting sectarian and separatist militants in its restive Balochistan province, namely the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), but some members of the group who have been fighting Islamabad in a bid for independence have denied the allegations.
Balochistan is a region that covers Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. It makes up Pakistan’s largest province.
In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the head of the Pakistani military’s media wing, declared:
[The] threat from India is perpetual. India is not only challenging Pakistan conventionally along our eastern borders but is busy in fomenting unrest through terrorism using Afghan soil … we are not having any let-up in safeguarding against Indian threat.
The generals’ comments came in response to Gulf News asking about the “biggest threat” facing Pakistan and whether or not the country’s army remains “India focused.”
Gen. Ghafoor identified tension with India and instability in Afghanistan as Pakistan’s “biggest challenges.” Tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have escalated in recent days over a diplomatic dispute.
The rivaling nations are fighting a proxy war over control of the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir where cross-border shellings have reportedly increased.
“We will not only secure India internally but can also cross-border, if needed, to protect the nation,” reportedly declared Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Meanwhile, India’s growing influence in Afghanistan threatens Pakistan, according to various analysts, including the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
New Delhi has provided hundreds of millions in assistance to Afghanistan.
When announcing his Afghanistan war strategy in August 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump praised India’s support for the war-devastated country while condemning Pakistan for supporting terrorists in the region.
Gen. Ghafoor declared that normalizing India-Pakistan relations is only possible after resolving the Kashmir issue.
The top general told Gulf News:
For normalized Indo-Pak relationship, all issues including the core issue of Kashmir between the two nuclear countries need to be resolved. India needs to behave like a responsible country, stop atrocities on both sides of the LOC [Line of Control] and also discontinue interference inside Pakistan through state-sponsored terrorism.
Pakistan, its ally China, and their rival India all have competing claims to the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir.
The LOC separates the Indian and Pakistani-held Kashmir territories
While India accuses Pakistan of supporting jihadists in Kashmir, Islamabad accuses New Delhi of backing separatists in the region.