KV Correspondent

Kashmir issue has no military solution, says former Army General

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A former head of Northern Command of Indian army has said that Kashmir issue has no military solution to it, and that it can only be solved through bilateral talks.

“If we say that the Kashmir issue has a martial solution, it will be false. The issue is an internal and multifaceted issue,” Lieutenant General (R) DS Hoda was quoted as saying in an interview to BBC Urdu.

The former General said that Pakistan is enjoying widespread support in Kashmir valley,

“There is a lot of support for Pakistan too. The Indian army’s role is to bring the security situation at a level that encourages political activity within the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Hooda said.

Talking over the issue of so –called surgical strikes the retired army general said, “After detailed consultations prior to the strikes we concluded that an all-out war with Pakistan cannot be triggered, and so we decided to execute our plan and take some risk.”

“The Indian Army was ready to deal with any situation in Kashmir. I cannot share the details but a lot of detailed discussions were held at the army headquarters. It wasn’t that we all of a sudden decided to carry out a surgical strike. We had been planning for quite a time.”

While talking about the largely found rebellious attitude among local Kashmiris towards India, the retired general said that carrying out an operation in the area has become a ‘severe headache’ and a great challenge as the Indian army ‘doesn’t want civilians to get harmed .

Retired, Lieutenant General D.S. Hooda has over the past several months been very forthcoming on the situation in Kashmir and how to tackle the rising anger among the youth.

“There is anger and a certain amount of angst among the youth. See, the answers are not difficult and it is not rocket science to understand what needs to be done. There is need for engagement, particularly with the youth. I think 70 per cent of the population there is below 30 years of age. They don’t have opportunities. They are also reluctant to come out of the state. There is enough scope for generating employment. There is scope for talking to these guys, understanding what they need. We need to talk to the traders, taxi owners, people in the tourism industry, students, we need to talk to everyone,” the General said earlier.

Rt. Lieutenant General D.S. Hooda, also gave his own slew of measures to counter the current situation in the valley in his article published in a national daily.

As per Hooda, “the middle ground” in Kashmir, which he claims would have offered some solution, has “disappeared” and that the governments should not look for “final solutions” but find a way to bring “semblance of calm” in the valley.

This, he claim, can be done by dealing with both Pakistan and the separatists in Kashmir.

“Let us also clearly accept that Pakistan and the separatists are not going to easily change their tune. This is where we have to be muscular — not against our own people. What steps are appropriate is for the government to decide, but things can’t be allowed to drift along,” reads an excerpt of the article ‘Valley’s lost middle ground’.

Hooda adds that “focus should be given to the separatists”.

“Decide on one way to deal with them and carry that through. Ignoring them is no longer an option.”

For Pakistan, the former GOC says that it would be “poor strategy” to hope that the present Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa would be “less hostile” than General Raheel Sharif, and that “infiltration would reduce”.

“We have to take our own steps to improve border management. A smart fence is required immediately — but we are yet to even execute a pilot project,” he wrote.

KV Correspondent

Kashmir Correspondent cover all daily updates for the newspaper

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