7:16 pm - Friday December 15, 2017

Gen Sharif shifted army from India-centric position: Daily

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Pak's new army chief Gen Raheel has no presence on Facebook, Twitter
Pak's new army chief Gen Raheel has no presence on Facebook, Twitter

Islamabad – Pakistan’s new army chief General Raheel Sharif is credited with “shifting the army away from its India-centric position”, said a daily here Friday.

An editorial in the News International said that the appointment of General Raheel Sharif to take over from General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as the next chief of army staff is surprising in at least one respect.

“Sharif, unlike other touted contenders like Haroon Aslam and Tariq Khan, never led troops in operations against the Taliban.”

It said that while Sharif does not have recent combat experience against the Pakistani Talib! an, “there are several reasons to believe that he may end up being just the COAS (chief of army staff) we need at this point in our history”.

“He is credited with shifting the army away from its India-centric position and recognising that the domestic threat may be the greater challenge we face right now.”

“In January, the army updated its Green Book to include the threat of internal terrorism for the first time, a move that Sharif is believed to have played a part in.”

The daily noted that Sharif is also “credited with devising responses to India’s Cold Start military doctrine and changing the training manual to reflect the new priority of counterinsurgency. As the inspector general for training and evaluation, Sharif has built trust and respect from those he trained so he can be assured the full support of the army that he will lead”.

It went on to say that General Sharif will be a popular choice among those who still give importance to comin! g from a military background.

“His elder brother Shabbir was a ! decorated war hero who was killed in action in 1971.”

With the simultaneous appointments of Rashad Mehmood as the largely ceremonial chairman of Joint Chief of Staff Committee position and Khwaja Asif as the defence minister, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has a national security team of his choosing in place.

“With the Taliban threat continuing to rage, tensions with India at a high and Afghanistan in a precarious position as the US prepares for withdrawal, this team will have to perform during one of the most daunting periods in our history,” observed the editorial.

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