Kashmiris have realized they cannot get what they want: Army chief


New Delhi, People in Jammu and Kashmir are tired of “terrorism” as they have realised it cannot give them what they want, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday.

In a Facebook Live session at the ongoing Raisina Dialogue organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF), he also said that people of Kashmir have come to know that it is not possible to secede from India.

“The people of Kashmir in general, I think, are getting tired of terrorism. They have seen it for too long and they have realised that it hasn’t given them what they had desired for,” Gen Rawat said.

“Let me tell you, with a country like India, to seek independence from a nation where we have strong armed forces, very strong democracy and very strong government… you cannot secede away from India.

“This is what people have realised and while of course some of them have gotten radicalised into joining terrorism and maybe it gives them a macho image or whatever happens, I do feel that most of them want to join the mainstream, but some of them who have got radicalized, I think we need to address those people and carry out with our de-radicalisation campaign. If that works, I think we can succeed in putting an end to terrorism,” he said.

On ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), he said Pakistan is trying to make an attempt to revive insurgency.

“The LoC is live because of infiltration taking place from across the border. There are terrorist bases very much inside Pakistan, attempt is being made to revive insurgency in Kashmir because people feel there is some semblance of peace that is returning in the Valley and we realise large-scale infiltration taking place in coming few months,” he said.

“That is why border is being kept active and alive by the Pakistani troops to support terrorists and support them in infiltration across LoC.”

The Army chief said “as long as Pakistan keeps attempting to send terrorists across the border”, India will keep taking action.

Asked about his comments on Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff”, he said though it is a weapon of deterrence, it may not completely deter war.

“Nuclear weapons are strategic weapons and their use is not easy. It is decided that the highest level in any establishment. To talk about use of nuclear weapons in the conventional domain, I don’t think it is right form of use.

“If they are a weapon of deterrence, it does not imply it will completely deter countries from going in conflict, especially if political masters in any country decide to push you into combat because of the political aims that they have for themselves…

“In case you are asked to take an action against an adversary, I don’t think just because a nation has nuclear weapons, you are going to get deterred by that,” he said.

Asked about Rohingya refugees in the northeastern states, the Army chief said the Indian government did not intend to target a particular community, and added that what is being looked for is those among them who are radicalised.