Ahead of the Indian Army Day, chief of the Indian Army Gen Bipin Rawat states that there cannot be any third party intervention in Jammu and Kashmir issue as it is bilateral in nature.
Addressing the annual press conference, the Army Chief said that “We want peace in Kashmir. These youth can do better things. Kashmir can see a better future if they shun violence. Ultimate losers of what they doing is not security forces but the people of Kashmir.
The chief added that the talks for J&K have to be “On our terms and conditions at the negotiating table. Shun the gun; give up violence, if all that can happen we can talk. No one size fits all. You have to look into national interest. Talks can only happen if they give up violence. Can someone give us guarantee our boys won’t be attacked? The Army has a Sadbhawna Project going on. In fact we are using both hard and soft power approach in Kashmir.”
The Northern Command of the Indian Army taking care of the borders with Pakistan and some parts of Line of Actual Control is soon going to be equipped with the new sniper rifles from this month. On January 20th the new snipers will come for the Northern Command.
“We are getting one of the best sniper rifles,” said the chief.
As for the talks with the Taliban, the chief said if a number of countries were talking to the Taliban, and if India has an interest in Afghanistan, then “we should also join the bandwagon”. He asserted, however, that the same analogy cannot apply to Jammu and Kashmir.”
“India has supported Afghanistan but no boots on grounds. There is a need to take our own call on our own terms. We should not be left out,” he said.
As has been reported earlier, official policy of India has been: “no engagement with the Taliban”. Countries including the US, Russia, Iran and Pakistan have been talking with the Taliban.
India has always supported the process of talks based on the condition that it is within the framework of Afghanistan’s constitution and should be “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned”.
Last year, India had participated in the Moscow talks on Afghanistan, in which the Taliban also took part. India participated at a non-official level, sending two former diplomats.
To a question regarding the modernisation of the Indian Army, the chief said that it is happening. “New bullet proof jackets have come in. We getting TATA Safaris and it will be mounted with verticals. Mine protected vehicles (MPVs) are being used. The army will get better UAVs.”
According to the chief, on the Chinese border there has been peace and tranquility post Wuhan informal meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping last year.
“Instructions were given to northern, central command. There can be perception of Line of Actual Control (LAC). Directions are very clear, including interaction at lower command,” he added.
On plans of downsizing the army the chief told the media that so far four different studies have been done. And these will reach the government soon. The man power will be saved by restructuring the force, he said.