Stone-pelters were “more dangerous” than the pellet guns says Chief of Defence Staff Gen Rawat

Welcoming a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan, Chief of DefenceStaff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat on Thursday said they should give up weapons and come to the political mainstream.

“You have to come to a peace deal with everybody (in Afghanistan), if you’ve to come to a peace deal with them you’ve to go for negotiated peace. Taliban or whichever organisation is contemplating terror has to give up that weapon of terror, they must come to the political mainstream,” he said. “It should not be a way to find an exit,” he added referring to the planned U.S. exit from the country.

Speaking on a panel on countering terrorism at the ongoing Raisina Dialogue organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation, Gen. Rawat said security forces could not be blamed for injuries caused due to pellet guns and the radicalised stone-pelters were “more dangerous” than the pellet guns. “The pellet guns are non-lethal weapons which are now used very rarely and only aimed below the legs,” he said.

There was an impression being created that Indian Army was heavy-handed in Kashmir, he said to a question. “We had to be heavy-handed when terrorism was forced upon us in the 1990s,” he said adding it was not so after. Stating that the casualties of security forces with respect to terrorists was 1:3, he said, “If we were heavy-handed we wouldn’t have these casualties.”

He said terrorism was here to stay so long as there were going to be states that were going to “sponsor terrorism and they are going to use terrorists as proxies, make weapons available to them, make funding for them, then we can’t control terrorism,“

Isolate terrorists

“We’ve to bring an end to terrorism and that can only happen the way Americans started after 9/11. They said let’s go on a spree on global war on terror. To do that, you have to isolate the terrorists. Anybody who is sponsoring terrorism has to be taken to task,” Gen. Rawat said adding, “With Pakistan we are going for blacklisting under Financial Action Task Force. If not, then we have to go for decisive action.”

On how the CDS would work with the three Service Chiefs, Gen. Rawat said the CDS was the first among equals and had got clear and well-defined responsibilities. “While he is the first among equals, he has some authority over the three Service Chiefs except on operational issues,” he said adding they he had meetings with the three Chiefs and a “lot of decisions have already been taken in past 15 days.”




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