Pune - Venturing into uncharted waters, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday said Pakistan should turn into a secular state from an Islamic nation.

Pakistan’s turning into a secular state is essential if the neighbouring country has to stay together with India, the Indian army chief said. “If they (Pakistan) have to stay together with India, then they have to develop as a secular state,” Gen Rawat told reporters at the National Defence Academy in Pune.

“See this staying together, staying separate, ispe Pakistan ko apni andruni halat dekhni hogi. Pakistan ne apne state ko Islamic state bana diya hai. Hum log secular state hai (Pakistan has to look at its internal situation. They are an Islamic state, we (India) are a secular state),” he said.

Gen Rawat said, “How can we stay together if you say I am an Islamic state and there is no role for anybody else,” he said. “If they are willing to become secular like us, then they seem to have an opportunity. Pehle dekhe karte hai ki nahi karte (Let us see if they do so or not).”

Asked about Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that Islamabad would move two steps forward if New Delhi took one step, Gen Rawat said the neighbouring nation should first take steps to curtail terror activities on its soil.

“I would like to tell Pakistan to initiate that first step. In the past, India has taken several steps,” Rawat said.

On Khan’s statement as to why India and Pakistan could not be friends when Germany and France could be good neighbours, he said the neighbouring nation first needs to see its internal condition.