New Delhi: There was no cause for concern as the Army had managed the situation well along the borders with China and Pakistan, said Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat on Thursday. (Also read: ‘Pak Doesn’t Stand a Chance With India Unless it Becomes Secular’)
Speaking at his annual press conference, General Rawat added that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir needs to be improved further. “We are only facilitators for peace in J-K,” he said. Adding that the situation needed to be controlled better, he said, “The situation in J-K needs to be brought under better control. We are adopting a hard power and soft power approach. But the offer to terrorists to come over the ground, look at peace is always there as who is getting affected by this? People of Kashmir themselves.”
He said all the youth needed to do was shun violence. “We don’t want youth dying in the Valley. We want peace. This cycle has to stop when we kill 200-250 terrorists every year and they get replaced. All the youth have to do is to shun violence. The ultimate losers in this game are the Kashmiri people,” he added.
He added how the Army was cautious during operations in the state. “India Army as a professional army does not target civilians intentionally, but we do know there are terrorists operating from that soil (western neighbour) who attempt to cross the border. So, it is very difficult to identify between a civilian and a terrorist,” he said.
General Rawat also pointed a finger at the media, saying that the more it reported encounters and martyr status, “the more traction you give them”.
On a positive note, Rawat said, “On January 20, Indian Army Northern Command would get new Sniper rifles.” He said in the next couple of months, DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) would be giving the final timeline as to when the ordered missile and rocket could be introduced. “If they’re failing and timelines are not being met, then we go in for the import mechanism,” he added.
As far as the possibility of engaging with the Taliban was concerned, General Rawat said, “If a number of countries are talking to the Taliban, and if India has an interest in Afghanistan, then we should also join the bandwagon.”
General Rawat also rued the fact that Army veterans who had drifted away after retirement. He said, “I have noticed that there is a kind of disunity among some of our veterans. I think they need to be united. Our veterans are a very strong community which is required to support the mainstream, they can do that if they unite and remain united.”
On holding talks with the Hurriyat, General Rawat was categorical in stating that violence and talks couldn’t happen simultaneously. He said, “Our position is very clear that shun the gun and stop taking support from the western neighbour. Talks can happen only if they shun violence.”