20 YEARS OF KARGIL WAR | Shun gun, return to families: General Rawat to militants

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat Friday asked Kashmir youth who have picked up guns to shun the path of militancy and return to their families for better future.

“Any local youth picking up gun against security forces is no longer an innocent. Anyone who picks up the gun will go to the grave,” the Army Chief said, in a stern warning.

The Army, General Rawat said, was trying hard to motivate families of the ‘misguided youth’ to motivate them to give up arms and return to mainstream.

“We are trying to approach civil society, moulvis, parents, sisters and brothers of militants to tell them that this (the gun) is not the way forward,” the Army Chief said.

He was interacting with media persons after laying wreath at Kargil War Memorial as part of celebration of 20 years of victory in Operation Vijay.

Rawat said it was saddening that young and educated boys, PhD holders and graduates, were joining militancy. “I am quite sure that parents don’t support their children who complete PHD, to join militancy. They support these youth in the hope that in their old age these boys will be a hope for them,” General  Rawat said.

The Army, he said, was gradually reaching out to people with its own social media campaign and has also started Super-30 for NEET and other competitive examinations for Kashmir youth.

“We are running Goodwill Schools. In the history of militancy, we haven’t come across any militant or stone thrower who has come from these Goodwill Schools. It is only because of the right education the students get in these schools,” he said.

Responding to a question about disputed Aksai Chin, which is under the control of China, the General said “technically” the entire area, which consisted Jammu and Kashmir at the time of signing of Instrument of Accession, belongs to India.

“It’s up to political leadership to decide how to get it back,” he said. “Jammu and Kashmir is a state. In 1947 the then Majahraj Hari Singh signed Instrument of Accession and Indian Army came in and fought against Pakistan infiltrators…. But then the ceasefire was declared and some part (of the State) was occupied by Pakistan,” he said.

“We have right over entire Jammu and Kashmir, but how can we get back the reaming area is a political decision. Whether they want to get it diplomatically or through another any decision they have to decide,” he maintained.

On frequent India-China stand-off on Line of Actual Control, the Army Chief ruled out any difference with PLA. “We have difference of perception. But there is a well established mechanism to sort out any issue locally,” he said.

The Army Chief, in a message to people, asked them to keep supporting armed forces. “Let me convey a message to our countrymen that any task given to defence services will always be accomplished, no matter how challenging and how difficult the task is,” he said.

He said soldiers were performing their duties in difficult terrain to guard national boundaries. “Our soldiers will continue to guard our borders under challenging circumstances so that you can rest in peace and sleep with comfort in your homes,” he said, adding, “All we need is support so that the solider continued to remain motivated and encouraged.”

Earlier, three service chief including Chief of Army Staff, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa and the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh laid wreath at Kargil War Memorial during a function organized to culminate the celebrations of day.

Later, all the Chiefs of Armed forces walked through the memory lane, and interacted with the invitees, troops and next of the kin.

‘Pak desperate to keep Kashmir issue alive’

Meanwhile, Army Chief warned Pakistan of a “bloodier nose” if it chooses to go into another war with India, even as he advised the neighboring country of not repeating the “misadventures”.

“Don’t do it. Misadventures are normally not repeated. You’ll get a bloodier nose next time,” he said addressing a press conference here.

The Army chief said Pakistan has been making “desperate attempts” to keep Kashmir issue alive which “the country feels was gradually dying down”.

“They have now been singled out as a state that has been sponsoring violence on Indian soil,” he said. “The world at large knows that militants are being trained in Pakistan. They have training camps. They are not only providing moral and financial support, but weaponry to militants too,”  General Rawat said.

The Army chief said Pakistan was pushing “people” from across the borders to keep militancy alive in Kashmir. “Social media is being used to fuel trouble in Jammu and Kashmir. These are desperate attempts to keep Kashmir issue alive since they know it may no longer be an issue in the international community,” he said.

The Army Chief said Pakistan’s attempt to keep discussing Kashmir was an attempt to either “draw us into a communication or gain sympathy of international community”.

On US President Donald Trump’s meditation remark, the Army chief said there was “difference between talks and action”.

“We all know Pakistan is passing through a situation. We all know who give orders and directions in Pakistan. There financial condition is very weak and they can do anything to get money. And if they get money, they will keep doing what they have been doing in the past.”