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Engage Valley youth and keep pressure on militants, say experts

Army officers said that the situation was better but senior scribes pointed out that the ground reality was not as good as it was being made out to be.

punjab Updated: Dec 09, 2017 15:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chnadigarh
Military Literature Festival Chandigarh,Lake Club Chandigarh,Chandigarh
Lt Gen JS Cheema during a session on counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh on Friday.(Anil Dayal/HT)

Advocating “an iron fist in a velvet glove” strategy to tackle insurgency in Kashmir, former top-ranking army officers on Friday underlined the need of engaging Valley’s youth positively to end the cycle of violence.

With his sharp views on the hot-button topic ‘Counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir’ during a session at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh, former chief of the northern command Lt Gen BS Jaswal (retd) set the ball rolling to what turned out to be an engaging and educative session despite a thin audience.

Other veterans who were in the panel included Lt Gen JS Cheema, Lt Gen AC Suneja, Maj Gen Dilawar Singh, besides senior journalists Nirupama Subramanian and Vikramjit Singh.

While the army officers said the situation was better in Kashmir and stressed the need of keeping pressure on the militants, the senior scribes pointed out that the ground reality in the Valley was not as good as it was being made out to be.

“When one Kashmiri militant is killed, there are 6-7 youth ready to fill his place,” Nirupama said, pointing out that of the near 250 militants operating in Kashmir, about 117 are locals.

“There is a belief that you cannot keep on killing people,” she said.

Endorsing her views, Vikramjit said it was a fallacy being propagated by politicians that Kashmir is on the threshold of peace.

Earlier, Lt Gen Jaswal said radicalisation of the youth was taking roots as Pakistan wanted to keep the Kashmir pot boiling.

Lt Gen Suneja added that during search operations, the Army must deal with women and other people with respect.

Despite different views on how to deal with insurgency notwithstanding, the panellists were unanimous that engaging with the people, especially the youth, was important.

First Published: Dec 09, 2017 15:02 IST