No Agnipath Rollback; Prophet Controversy Damaged India's Reputation: Ajit Doval

In an interview with ANI, the National Security Advisor discussed the Agnipath scheme, the dispute LAC dispute with China and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

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New Delhi: National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Tuesday said the Agnipath ‘lapsable military recruitment scheme’ will not be rolled back, saying there is a change in the armed forces’ make-up is necessary if the country wants to prepare for future wars and conflicts.

“The (idea of) war is undergoing a great change. We are going toward contactless wars, and also going towards the war against the invisible enemy. Technology is taking over at a rapid pace. If we have to prepare for tomorrow, then we have to change,” Doval told ANI in an interview.

He asked military aspirants to have “faith in the nation, the leadership and also in yourself”.

As violent protests raged across the country in opposition to the radical new scheme, Doval blamed “conflict entrepreneurs” for egging these protesters on. He said that while protests and raising voice are permitted in a democracy, violence and vandalism will not be tolerated.

While Doval and ANI editor Smita Prakash spent a large part of the nearly-50-minute interview discussing the Agnipath scheme, a range of other issues were also brought up, including the dispute along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and relations with Pakistan.

Speaking about the controversial remarks made by now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma about Prophet Muhammad, Doval said that the issue has damaged India’s reputation.

“India has been projected – or some disinformation has been spread against India – which is far from the reality. Probably there is a need for us to engage them and talk to them and convince them. And you will find that wherever we have gone, wherever we have engaged with the concerned people, both outside and inside, we have been able to convince them…. When people get emotionally aroused, sometimes their behaviour is a little disproportionate to the actual event,” Doval said.

“Post-2019, the mood and temper of the people of Kashmir have totally changed. People are no more in the favour of Pakistan, terrorism,” he said. The NSA acknowledged the risk of greater terror attacks that Kashmiri Pandits are facing: “Yes, they are a vulnerable section and need protection. Government has taken various steps in the past and probably much more has to be done and that is being done.”