A day after the Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat supported the idea of talks with Taliban, he said that the analogy cannot be applied in Jammu and Kashmir where the government has rejected talks with stakeholders including the Hurriyat and militants.
In his annual press conference he said that ‘talks in the valley will be on our terms.’
Regarding talks with the Taliban, he said that India ‘can’t be left out of the bandwagon’ if a number of other countries are talking to them as it has ‘interests in Afghanistan’.
On talks with Hurriyat, Rawat 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.”
Recating to Rawat’s statement, National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah had said, “Engagement for Taliban, Operation All-Out for Kashmir.”
Mehbooba Mufti, chief of the PDP, while criticizing Rawat had said, ”
Reacting to the Army chief’s statement, National Conference vice president and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah had then slammed Rawat. “We bat for talks with Taliban, autonomy for Tibet & Tamil areas of Sri Lanka, yet we are unwilling to look at engagement or political initiatives in J&K. Why is our policy all about ‘do as we say, don’t do as we do’? Engagement for Taliban, Operation All-Out for Kashmir,” Omar had said.
PDP chief and former CM Mehbooba Mufti also criticized the army chief, saying, “If the Army Chief can advocate for talks with Taliban then why different standards when it comes to our own people?”
“Accept peace offer from Pakistan, initiate dialogue with Hurriyat and other stakeholders put an end to the vicious cycle of violence in J&K,” she had said.
Rawat added that while the situation in Kashmir needs to improve, “we (army) are only facilitators for peace’. The Army has managed the situation well along the borders with China and Pakistan and there should be no cause for concern, he further said.
Speaking at Raisina Dialogue 2019 recently, a multilateral conference on international policy matters, General Rawat also said that terrorism was a multi-headed monster that would exist as long as nations continued to sponsor it.
“Terrorism is becoming a new form of warfare. A weaker nation is using terrorists as proxy to put pressure on another nation to come to terms with it,” he said.
Rawat also said that there was a need to control social media as it was becoming a source of spreading radicalisation.
He said a different kind of “radicalisation was being witnessed in India and in Jammu and Kashmir, the youth were getting radicalised due to a lot of misinformation, disinformation, and a lot of falsehoods on religion being fed to them.”
“That is why you find more and more educated youth being drawn into militancy,” he said.