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It is not unusual for an army chief to call on the family of a martyred soldier. But possibly because of the public attention the decapitation of the two jawans on January 8 attracted, General Bikram Singh visited the home of Lance Naik Hemraj Singh in Shergarh village near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. Chandrani Banerjee caught up with him on his return. Excerpts from an interview:
Is India economically prepared to wage a war?
War would be an extreme step. It’s the last thing on the list of priorities, always the last resort. Various steps have to be taken before a country can think about war. It’s the last thing we should talk about.
What is the Indian army’s current position on the recent incidents involving Pakistan?
We will try to use four to five technical steps that are there. Straight talks, dual talks, engagement, battle, and only then does the question of war come. Currently, engagement of people in talks has been encouraged. In the current scenario, it is being used to defuse tension.
You have claimed that we have concrete proof against Pakistan. Could you give us some details?
The Indian army has concrete evidence. This means we have enough and solid intelligence inputs with us. Apart from this, we have other corroborative evidence to show what Pakistan is doing in the frontier and border regions.
What kind of intelligence inputs do we have against Pakistan?
We have given all the details and supporting evidence to the government. There is enough and concrete evidence to support our claim of the beheading of Indian soldiers.
What is our intelligence preparedness on the border?
The amount of proof available on the matter shows our preparedness. We have countered the other country with solid and sufficient evidence, the basis of our claim in the ongoing matter. It was also on the basis of our operational intelligence that we can say that this was a premeditated, pre-planned action by Pakistan.
How prepared is the army for any eventuality?
The Indian army has kept its operational preparedness at the highest level in view of various challenges. I want to assure the nation that the Indian army is prepared to face all challenges to national security.