The 61-year-old Kayani, the first spy master to become the army chief, will retire after an extended tenure that saw the Pakistani military launch operations against some militant factions while leaving other groups like the anti-India Lashkar-e-Taiba free to operate on the country's soil.

It was during an interaction with the Pakistani media in February 2010 that Kayani said his force would remain an "India-centric" force till the Kashmir issue and water disputes are resolved.

Though the army did not block the previous Pakistan People's Party-led government's efforts to normalize trade with India, many believe the force had a hand in scuttling the move to give India Most Favoured Nation-status in December last year.

Kayani is retiring after heading the Pakistan Army for six years at a time when the country is trying to cope with several security challenge, including a raging Taliban insurgency and the impending drawdown of US and foreign troops from neighbouring war-torn Afghanistan.

Known as a chain-smoking man of few words, Kayani was once described by CIA officials in a 2008 New York Times article as a "master manipulator". His India policy too has been difficult to comprehend, analysts say.

Though it was under Kayani's watch that the Pakistani military made a paradigm shift and described home-grown militancy as the "biggest threat" to national security rather than India, critics say the jihadi tap was never shut off.

Pakistani soil continued to be used for planning and staging terror attacks on India, including the brazen Mumbai 2008 attacks that involved some serving and retired officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence, which Kayani headed before becoming army chief.

The latest tensions on the Line of Control too were blamed on the Pakistani military's efforts to give a push to the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir by backing infiltration bids by militant groups like the LeT.

However, some in Islamabad argue that Kayani, the son of a non-commissioned officer, was interested in building ties with India and cite the example of his call for demilitarizing the Siachen glacier.


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