Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat today said the appointment of an interlocutor to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir would not impact Army operations in the state. The government, he said, was acting from a “position of strength” on the Kashmir issue and its existing policy had helped in improving the overall situation in the state. Asked whether the appointment of former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as Kashmir interlocutor would impact the Army’s operations in the troubled state, he said, “My one word answer is no, it will not.” The Army chief was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a FICCI event. The government on Monday appointed Sharma as its special representative for a “sustained dialogue” with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, in a fresh move aimed at bringing peace to the state.
Responding to a question on whether Sharma’s appointment meant that the tough policy on Kashmir was not working, Gen. Rawat said, “I do not think so. What is in your mind is not correct. The policy of the government has worked. The government is speaking from a position of strength.” He said incidents of cross-border infiltration had come down and the overall situation in the state had improved significantly in the last few months. “In January, you had asked me whether the situation has deteriorated in Kashmir, whether we have lost Kashmir. Now you analyse where is Kashmir?” he asked. “We have killed terrorists on the Line of Control because of which the situation has improved.”
Addressing the gathering at FICCI, the Army chief flagged concerns over the possibility of terror attacks on military installations in the country’s hinterland and mentioned the strikes in Uri and Pathankot. “Security of our installations in the hinterland is becoming a cause of concern because we keep getting reports about likelihood of some attacks on the lines of Uri and Pathankot in some of our bases,” the Army chief said. He also underlined the need for enhancing intelligence and surveillance systems.