FINALLY: India, Pakistan Army Chiefs Talk Peace
Rawat admits futility of violence, Bajwa advocates dialogue to resolve Kashmir
New Delhi/ Islamabad, Apr 15 : Amid continuous tensions between the two neigbouring countries, the chief commanders of Indian and Pakistan armies today hinted being on the same page as one admitted futility of violence and the other pitched for dialogue.
Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat today said the “radicalised youth of the Valley” would soon “realise” that the gun was not the solution to their problem as neither the Army nor the militants would achieve their goals through it.
Peace, he said, was the only way to improve the situation in Kashmir that had been witnessing militancy for about three decades now.
“There is hope that the situation in Kashmir will improve…it’s not gone wrong. There are some youths in Kashmir who have strayed and have been radicalised. They think they can achieve their goal through guns.
“But the time is not far when even they will be convinced that neither the forces nor the militants will be able to achieve their goal. We have to together find a way for peace and we will be successful in that,” Rawat said.
The Army chief was speaking at the 70th foundation day of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment.
He said although a section of “people in the valley had strayed” but that was a “very small” number and majority of people desired peace and believed that they were Indians.
“It is wrong to say that situation in Kashmir has deteriorated. The atmosphere is vitiated but the situation has not deteriorated,” he said.
Rawat, who served extensively in Kashmir through his tenure, said the concept of ‘Kashmiryat’ had to be brought back and the process initiated from the University of Kashmir.
He noted that ‘Unity in Diversity’ was the real essence of Kashmiriyat and it is important to inform the youth about it.
“To revive that Kashmiriyat, we need to get our act together. It is not difficult. We have to get our act together, sit down together, work together and make sure that we all get united and bring about peace,” he added.
Meanwhile, sounding bit identical, Pakistan’s Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa today said that the peaceful resolution of India-Pakistan disputes, including the core issue of Kashmir, can be found through comprehensive and meaningful dialogue,
Bajwa’s remarks came during his speech at the passing-out parade of cadets at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul yesterday, according to a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the country’s armed forces.
“It is our sincere belief that the route to peaceful resolution of Pak-India disputes — including the core issue of Kashmir — runs through comprehensive and meaningful dialogue.
“While such dialogue is no favour to any party, it remains the inevitable precursor to peace across the region. Pakistan remains committed to such a dialogue, but only on the basis of sovereign equality, dignity and honour,” he said.
Addressing the cadets, Bajwa, 57, said Pakistan is a peace-loving country and seeks harmonious and peaceful co-existence with all countries, especially its neighbours, according to the statement.
“However, this desire for peace must not, in any sense, be construed as a sign of weakness. Our valiant Armed Forces are fully prepared to respond across the full spectrum of threat in a befitting manner,” he added.
The Army chief also reaffirmed his country’s “political and moral support” to the “basic right of self-determination” for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said Pakistan has done its part to cleanse itself of the scourge of terrorism and extremism without any distinction and the efforts have started to bear results.
“We are committed to continue these efforts, not out of any compulsion, but to make Pakistan a safe, prosperous and progressive country,” he said.
Bajwa also said that a “hybrid war” had been imposed on Pakistan to internally weaken it.
“Our enemies know, that they cannot beat us fair and square and have thus subjected us to a cruel, evil and protracted hybrid war,” he said, without taking any names.
Stressing that Pakistan has totally rejected extremism and terrorism, he said, “I would like to reiterate here that the nation and its Armed Forces are totally united and focused towards our primary objective, that is, eradication and elimination of terrorism.”