Indian army chief stresses political solution for Kashmir dispute

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat has stressed on political initiatives along with military operations for bringing peace to the disputed region of Kashmir, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI).

Comments come a few days after Rawat had claimed that his forces were ready to call “Pakistan’s nuclear bluff” and cross the border to carry out any operation if asked by the government of India.

Admitting the failure of Indian policies in the region, Rawat was quoted as saying, “The armed forces operating in the state cannot be status quoist, and must evolve new strategies and tactics to deal with the situation.”

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“Political initiative and all the other initiatives must go simultaneously hand-in-hand and only if all of us function in synergy, we can bring lasting peace in Kashmir. It has to be a politico-military approach that we have to adopt,” Rawat added.

In October, the Indian government had appointed former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Dineshwar Sharma as a special representative to hold “sustained dialogue” with all stakeholders in the disputed valley.

The general emphasised that Sharma was the government’s representative and it was his job to reach out to the people of Kashmir to address their grievances.

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“You have to continuously think and keep moving forward. You have to keep changing your doctrines and concept and the manner in which you operate in such areas. An overall approach is required to deal with the Kashmir issue,” he added.

“India must evolve its policies in South Asia.”

“I am only seeing a marginal change in the situation,” Rawat said while responding to a question about the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK).

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Rawat believed that Kashmiri youth continued to be attracted to the struggle for freedom from India and were rapidly joining separatist groups despite efforts by occupying forces to maintain pressure on them.

“I do not think it is time to become over confident and start assuming that the situation in Kashmir has been brought under control,” Rawat noted.

The Line of Control (LoC) along the border with India has remained volatile over the past year, and according to official figures, hundreds of ceasefire violations by Indian troops have been reported. Pakistan has been effectively retaliating to unprovoked firing by Indian troops.

This article originally appeared on New Indian Express

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