Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat has pointed out that all Kashmiris are not terrorists and therefore, the job of the armed forces is to target the terrorists only after separating them from the Kashmiri people.
Talking to The Indian Express, the Army chief added that only a few Kashmiris are involved in the terror activities.
“We understand that all Kashmiris are not involved in the so-called militancy. There are few, select in number, who indulge in terror and violence. Our job is to separate the terrorists from the Kashmiri people and target the terrorists,” Gen Rawat told IE.
Gen Rawat also denied reports that the Army has returned to Cordon and Search Operations (CASO) in the Kashmir Valley as part of its counter-insurgency strategy in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
He was referring to reports of the Army returning to COAS, discontinued nearly 15 years ago, after search operations involving nearly 4,000 soldiers of the Rashtriya Rifles were launched in 15 villages in Shopian district last Thursday.
“We are not returning to classical CASO in Kashmir, because we know they cause hardship to the local people. These are area search operations. It is not even a cordon,” General Rawat added.
Calling upon all Kashmiris to condemn the killing of the young Kashmiri Army officer Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, the Army chief said that he was a role model for all young Kashmiris.
“The young officer was a role model for all young Kashmiris. The way things are, this action has taken Kashmiris back while Lieutenant Ummer was taking it forward. He was encouraging other young people to join a force which the whole country is proud of,” General Rawat said.
“These people are discouraging Kashmiris from availing job opportunities while thousands of people line up for police recruitment. How can they explain this dichotomy? This act should be condemned by all Kashmiris,” he added.