Tahlka News Bureau
New Delhi: Army General Bipin Rawat in a recent interview made comment that may sound like 'rage' about the state of unrest in Kashmir, on which he said that 'innovative' solutions will have to be found to fight the 'dirty war'. He said this while he defined Major Leetul Gogoi who tied a Kashmiri man to the bonnet of his jeep, to keep off the stone-pelting mob in Budgam. However, the Modi government seem to have no plans of bring the matter of stone-pelting mob on the political table, any time soon.
When India became independent, the civilian leadership under Jawahar Lal Nehru had ensured that the country's army did not ever became a part of the political disclosure. Inida's first army chief K M Kariappa had publically criticised the government over India's economic performance, he was criticised and told not to give opinions on matters that did not lie with his ambit. Even the commander-in-chief's position was detached from political decision-making and even abolished after independence.
Traditionally, the leadership of the Indian Army was never seen making public appearances and remarks and remained a subject of admiration among public influencing their commitment to the nation and its people in times of external and internal affairs.
But Narendra Modi's times are different, even when it comes to the army. Now the army is being hero-worshiped more and more, that institution is loosing its glorious isolation and even coming in close contacts with the political orbit.
General Bipin Singh Rawat in sync with the Modi government said that we need innovative ways to tackle the situation in Jammu and Kashmir today. The Army wished that stone-pelters were firing a weapon instead of throwing stones so that he could do what he wanted. The Comment shows that the Modi government had totally passed the buck to the Army to manage the Kashmir situation, both military and politically.
"People are throwing stones at us, people are throwing petrol bombs at us. If my men ask me what to do , should I say, just wait and die? I will come with a nice coffin with a national flag and i will send your bodies home with homers. Is it what I am supposed to do tell them as chief? I have to maintain the morale of my troops who are operating there," Gen Rawat said in his interview.
"This is a proxy war and proxy war is a dirty war. It is played in a dirty way. The rules of engagements are there when the adversary comes face-to-face and flights with you. It is a dirty war... That is where innovation comes in. You fight a dirty war with innovations," Rawat added. Innovation is one thing, but getting dirty in a dirty war cannot be an option for an elite army. The defense of the erring Army officer, tooth and nail, and an award later, will goad the radicalised youths to take up arms. It will also throw the Army down from the moral high point. Moreover, the big question is, by defending an Army personnel taking a hostage in in distress and calling it innovative, is the Army chief talking about making it a standard operating procedure? Innovation would have been if the major had not violated any rules and came out unscratched.
Rawat further said that, "In fact, I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then i would have been happy. Then I could do what I (want to do)." By saying this, he inadvertently raised an important point that Army is not police to completely look after law and order. Though, in the absence of political initiative by the Modi dispensation, the Army is being used as police. They are trained to shoot at hostile elements. But they have to practice restraints at the hostile elements-calls them whatever-are unarmed citizens of the country.
Modi government, time to time has been shunning its responsibility by refusing to talk until stone-pelting stops using Army as defence mechanism. They won't move an inch towards talks until stone-pelting stopped, which will not stop on its own. This evasive strategy proves that the government don't have a plan B. However, the truth is that more than the Army, the Modi government needs to be innovative.
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu supported the army chief's statement tweeting that he was in complete agreement with what he felt, a Left MP lashed out at Rawat asking whether he had any understanding of the Indian society that he was making such remarks about "inattentiveness".