People in Jammu and Kashmir are tired of militancy as they have realised that it cannot give them what they want, the army chief, general Bipin Rawat, said on Wednesday. In a Facebook Live session at the ongoing Raisina Dialogue organised by the 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,” 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 deradicalisation campaign. If that works, I think we can succeed in putting an end to terrorism,” he said.
On alleged ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), he said that 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,” he alleged.
The army chief said that as long as Pakistan keeps attempting to send militants across the border, India will keep taking action.
Asked about his comments on Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff”, he said that 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, esspecially 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.
Rawat said that countries which support terrorism need to be “tackled” and terrorism is here to stay unless the world joins hands to end it.
He also said that a country which is victim of terror has to fight on its own war.
Rawat stressed on cutting terrorism funding and raised concerns over nuclear, biological and chemical weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.
He advocated curbs on Internet to control terror propaganda.
The army chief said that terror cannot be accepted as a new form of war and urged the global community to tackle it head on.
He said: “Nation states that support terror to achieve their ends need to be tackled first.”
“Terrorism is here to stay, unless the entire international community joins hands, comes together and fights this menace. Only then we can see peace… Terrorism cannot be a new form of warfare. This is what nations believe, this is going to be a new form of warfare. It has been seen that nations which spread terrorism invariably become victims of terrorist activities. If they want a safe home, it is better to stop this and let the global community work together.”
He, however, added that no country will fight a war for another.
“…You have to do your own job, no nation is coming to your help. International community support is required to support your action.
A nation suffering from terrorist activity has to do its own job, take its own action and deal with the terrorists on its own,” he said.
Rawat said that after identifying countries that support terror, the next step must be to address the source of funding.
“…where does the money come from. After all terror organisations have huge sums of money.”
Rawat pointed out that drugs trade was a major source of such funding.
He suggested that all weapon manufacturers should mark each weapon they sell.
“Whatever weapons are found with the terrorists, at least the origin of the weapon can be traced. As of now, very sophisticated weapons are landing in the hands of terrorists but it is difficult to find the source of that weapon,” he said.
“If that can happen, funding can stop, and source of weapon can be identified. I think that to an extent would put a check on the activities of the terrorists.”
According to him, the biggest threat was that terrorists may get hold of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. This, he said, “can spell disaster for humanity.”
“While weapons is only one issue, the bigger issue is keeping a check on biological and chemical weapons. How do we keep a check on that? This can only happen if countries unite.”
Stating that all terror groups had a militant and a political front, the army chief called for targeting both.
He said that even when a militant outfit was curbed, its political front continued to unleash propaganda.
He also called for putting “some checks and curbs” on the “population, Internet and social media and social communication which the terrorist organisations resort to.”
“I do appreciate that in a democratic country people would not want this kind of restriction to be put on them. But I think we have to take a call whether we want a safe and secure environment or we are willing to accept some kinds of curbs at least temporarily so that the menace of terrorism can be dealt with in a holistic manner.”