Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Govt must take a holistic view on J&K: Army chief : North: India Today

Govt must take a holistic view on J&K: Army chief : North: India Today

Govt must take a holistic view on J&K: Army chief
by Rahul Kanwal (Headlines Today Bureau)

New Delhi, January 27, 2011 | Updated 21:22 IST


Describing the recent flag-hoisting controversy in Jammu & Kashmir as "political wrangling and political games", Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh on Thursday said that the government needed to stop taking decisions that were expedient and aimed at narrow purposes.

In an exclusive interview to Headlines Today, General Singh said, "Jammu & Kashmir is a complicated set of things. There has to be a holistic view on what we do there. We have to take a very different view for the long term. Don't take decisions for the sake of expediency for a certain purpose. You have to have focus and resolve, and the government should put some people on the job."

Asserting once again that a troop withdrawal was not an option at this time, the Army chief said, "The day the 42 camps on the other side are wound up, and Pakistan stops its proxy war, that would be the time to withdraw our troops. Until that time, it is not possible. J&K is not about mathematics. We have to be pragmatic about troop reductions. " As a sidenote, the Chief indicated that it was impossible for these terror camps to function without the support and compicity of elements in the Pakistan establishment. At the same time, he asserted that it was in India's diplomatic interest that a dialogue process with Pakistan was kept active.

General Singh warned that the country ignored the ideology being preached in the Kashmir valley at its peril. "We must look very closely at the ideology being preached. What are we doing to counter this ideology? Are the mainstream political parties doing anything about it?" Emphasising that the Army was not an obstacle to political endeavours, the Chief suggested that the entire approach to J&K required new thinking.

Asked about the series of scams that have implicated generals, even former chiefs, General Singh said, "I have to ensure that the backbone of the army is stiffened. It had become flexible. We have told our rank and file that we will spare nobody -- whether you are a sepoy or a general, nobody will be spared if you do wrong. It is certainly sad, but these scams are abberations. We have told our rank and file that if you see something wrong happenening, stand up and speak out, or you will be considered part of it."

Expressing hurt at the damage scams like Sukna, Adarsh and Kandivali had dealt to the image of the Army, the Chief said, "It is my fervent desire, I have made a promise to myself that I will not allow these things to happen again."

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