Ready For Peace Talks in Kashmir with All Stakeholders: Indian Army Chief

Indian Army chief tried to defend his view of not holding talks with “all stakeholders” in Kashmir, saying the situation in Afghanistan was very different from that of Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi is ready for finding a long-term, durable solution to the Kashmir conflict.

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General Bipin Rawat said that there cannot be a “one size fits all” approach and India will have to act as per its interests. Replying to the general criticism of Army conducting operations in the Valley and applying too much pressure, the General emphasised that the Army was not out there “just to kill” but to bring peace.

He said that the mix of hard and soft approach of the Army was working well in Kashmir and a number of youths were returning to the mainstream, many of them quietly for fear of persecution.

“Don’t look at one size fits all… There is also the sense that things have improved in Afghanistan. There the people’s voice is also emerging that they want peace. If India has interests in Afghanistan, it has to be on the table where other nations are talking to Taliban,” he said in response to a media query.

“But Jammu and Kashmir is a bilateral issue. There is no place for third-party intervention. Here when we have to talk, we have to talk on our terms and conditions. Give up violence, stop taking support from the western neighbour, then who says that talks can’t take place.

“We are saying talks and terror cannot go together. And it is not only applicable to our western neighbour, but it is also applicable to (the militants)… You can’t keep killing our security forces, keep abducting policemen and say we are ready for talks,” he added.

“Here, it is our people, our nation who are being swayed by our national adversary. It is high time they take a call. And not at the behest of someone who is forcing them into violence. Talks can only when happen they give up violence. “Can somebody give us a guarantee that our convoys would not be attacked, our boys won’t be abducted, attacked and people going on leave won’t be killed? If that kind of guarantee is given, we are willing to go into talks with them,” he said. He said the youth were being radicalised on the social media to join terror ranks.

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