Indian army chief pitches for control over mosques, madrasas, schools in Kashmir

India will handle China 's growing assertiveness and has stepped up patrols on their disputed border to head off more standoffs, the country's top army officer declared on Friday. The equipment is no longer there, construction activities we saw in July are no longer happening.

The border dispute began in mid-June after Chinese troops started building a road on the Himalayan plateau.

He was responding to a question during a press conference on the possibility of Pakistan using its nuclear weapons in case the situation along the border deteriorates. Rawat said the issue of exercising some amount of control over mosques and madarsas to check the alleged flow of disinformation was being looked into. However, there could be some movement once the winter months are over. He said the road construction had been on in Doklam since 2000 but the Chinese soldiers had come close to Tosa Bala, dividing north and south Doklam in June previous year just before the India-China standoff started. "We also need to build capacity to move forces from western sector to northern sectors", he added. We also have to be prepared militarily. "This year it will shift to North Kashmir's Baramulla, Pattan, Handwara, Kupwara, Sopire and Lolab and some northern areas of Bandipore so that the infiltration can be thwarted there", General Rawat said.

"We are more concerned about cyber and information warfare".

The Army chief said India was repeatedly receiving requests from Pakistan to honour the 2003 ceasefire agreement because the damage was heavier on the other side. On a military level, our engagement is of the highest order ... He said that all ceasefire violations initiated by India on the Line of Control (LoC) are part of counter-terrorism action where only Pakistan army posts that are being used to launch terrorists into Kashmir are targeted. We will not allow our territory to be invaded by anyone. "We have increased our patrolling intensity, so has the adversary (China). But we have mechanisms in place with China to defuse any such incidents", he said.

Vanessa Coleman

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