The army in the Kashmir valley is learning Kashmiri language, culture and sensibilities in an attempt to connect to the local population and “win their hearts”.
The aim is to have at least one soldier or officer in every unit, post and bunker who will be able to converse with the locals, the army said.
“Kashmiri will help us reach out to the people. We are making extra efforts for the purpose,” Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain, general officer commanding of Srinagar-based 15 Corps, told mediapersons in north Kashmir on Sunday.
Hasnain feels once the troops are sensitised to the local cultural their methodology of functioning will automatically become more humane.
“To use the heart as a weapon, that is the doctrine, the methodology and the concept,” he said. The duration of the basic capsule course will be one month and the advanced course will last three months.
The army hopes to teach the language to at least 300 soldiers and officers every year at classes that will be held at the Human Resource Development Centre in the army headquarters here.
“We had a capsule course for soldiers to learn Kashmiri but classes were held infrequently. Now, we have provided impetus to the course,” army spokesperson Col JS Brar said.
Besides the educational staff, the army is using the services of two regiments, J&K Light Infantry and J&K Rifles, which have a sizeable number of Kashmiri jawans. “ It is happening at every level. We will create a base of soldiers who will then spread out across the valley and train fellow soldiers in their units and posts,” Brar said.