Army chief says violence and talks couldn’t happen simultaneously

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat  today made it clear that in Jammu and Kashmir violence and talks couldn’t happen simultaneously.  With regard to talks with the Hurriyat, General Rawat was categorical in stating that “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.”

At the same time, he also said 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.

Gen Rawat said that 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. He also pointed a finger at the media, saying that the more it reported encounters and martyr status, “the more traction you give them”.

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.” But, he said that at the same time the same analogy cannot be applied to Jammu and Kashmir. “The talks have to be on our terms,” he added.

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat  today made it clear that in Jammu and Kashmir violence and talks couldn’t happen simultaneously.  With regard to talks with the Hurriyat, General Rawat was categorical in stating that “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.”

For Local News and Immediate Delivery, download our Android App