Army chief Bipin Rawat: Pakistan needs to be secular to stay together with India

Pakistan needs to “develop as a secular state” to “stay together” with India, General Bipin Rawat said Friday.

“Pakistan made itself an Islamic state. If they have to stay together with India, then they have to develop as a secular state,” the Chief of Army Staff said.

This week, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country wanted a “civilised relationship” with India. Khan gave the example of the French and the Germans, who, despite their history, are now “are now peacefully living as neighbours”.

“We [India] are a secular state,” General Rawat said today, after the Passing Out Parade of the 135th course at the National Defence Academy (NDA).

“How can we stay together if you say ‘I am an Islamic state?’ And there is no role for anybody else…So for us to stay together, both of us will have to become secular. If they are willing to become secular — like us — I think there seems to be an opportunity.”

Imran Khan said India and Pakistan have just one problem: Kashmir.

“Our political leaders, our army, and all other institutions are all on one page. We wish to move forward,” Imran Khan said Wednesday at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor.

India said it was “deeply regrettable” that Khan politicised a “pious occasion” by making a reference to Jammu and Kashmir, an integral part of India. Earlier, Sushma Swaraj, India’s external affairs minister, said dialogue with Pakistan and the Kartarpur corridor were “two different things”.



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