Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Thursday said that while the security forces favour peaceful dialogue among stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, there will be zero tolerance on violence. Gen Rawat added that there were around 300 terrorists across the LoC waiting to infiltrate into India.
Speaking at the annual press conference prior to the Army Day, Army Chief said that the security forces are using various strategies to bring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir under control and there is a standing offer for the terrorists.
“We’re adopting both hard and soft approaches. The offer to terrorists to join the mainstream stays. If that happens, people of the state will benefit the most,” Gen Rawat said.
He added that security forces were deployed in Kashmir for peace but the separatists should also shun violence. On talks with the Hurriyat, Rawat said they should immediately shun the gun and stop taking support from the western neighbour. “Our position is very clear. Shun the gun and stop taking support from the western neighbour. Talks can happen only if they lay down weapons. During Ramzan, we had given an opportunity to the separatists to lay down arms. But if someone picks up the gun, we will take action,” Rawat said.
He said the Indian Army was a professional outfit and never targeted civilians. “However, when terrorists operating from the western border try to cross the border, it becomes difficult to differentiate between a civilian and a terrorist.”
To a query if the terrorists could infiltrate into the country from the Punjab border, Rawat said: “We have state-of-the-art technologies to prevent such activities.” He said the Army’s Northern Command would get new sniper rifles by January 20 and added that the force was using quadcopters for surveillance in border areas. “These high-end gadgets help in detecting explosives,” he said.
Meanwhile, responding to a question on Army veterans, Rawat said he had heard about some rift among veterans. “I have heard there is some disunity among some of our veterans. I think they need to be united. Our veterans are a very strong community and their unity is a must to support the mainstream,” he added.
On Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) he said the organisation had assured to handover the missiles and rockets that had been ordered by February-March. “If they fail to deliver, we will go in for imports,” Gen Rawat added.
(With ANI inputs)