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Saturday 25 January 2020

Army will continue policy of hot pursuit against militants: Gen Rawat

New Delhi: Political initiative must go “hand-in-hand” with military operations in Jammu and Kashmir to bring peace, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat said today, and favoured ramping up military offensive to pile up heat on Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism in the state.

Gen Rawat said the armed forces operating in the state cannot be “status quoist” and must evolve new strategies and tactics to deal with the situation, which he feels is “marginally” better since he took over a year ago.

The Army chief asserted that there was room for ramping up heat on Pakistan to cut flow of cross border terror activities, clearly indicating that the Army will continue its policy of hot pursuit in dealing with militancy.

“The 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,” the Army chief said.

In October, the government had appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as its special representative for a “sustained dialogue” with all stakeholders in J-K.

“When the government appointed an interlocutor, it is with that purpose. He is the government’s representative to reach out to the people of Kashmir and see what their grievances are so that those can then be addressed at a political level,” the Army chief said.

Gen Rawat said some youths continue to be radicalised and are joining militancy. The Army has been trying to maintain pressure on terror groups, he said.

The Army’s aim is to ensure that it continues to maintain the pressure on the terrorists and those fomenting trouble there, Gen Rawat said.

“But at the same time, we have to also reach out to the people,” he said.

Asked whether the situation in Kashmir has improved since he has taken over as the Army chief a year ago, Gen Rawat said, “I am only seeing a marginal change in situation for the better.

“I do not think it is time to become over confident and start assuming that the situation has been brought under control because infiltration from across the borders will continue.”

The LoC has remained volatile in the last year. According to official figures, 860 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops were reported in 2017 as against 221 the year before.

India has also been effectively retaliating to Pakistani firing and even crossed the LoC to punish Pakistani troops on several occasions as part of tactical operations.

PTI

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