New Delhi: Speaking at the Raisina Dialogue 2020 here on Thursday, chief of defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat pointed a finger at nations that sponsored terror and urged the international community to isolate them.
But he also suggested a controversial remedy for dealing with Kashmiri children influenced by “radicalisation”: that they be “put in de-radicalisation camps”.
“Terrorism is here to stay so long as there are states that will sponsor terrorism and use terrorists as proxies, make weapons and funding available for them. The war on terror is not ending, it is something which is going to continue, we will have to live with it until we understand and get to the roots of terrorism,” he said.
Rawat also said that terrorism can be put to an end only by waging a war against it as the US did after the attacks on 9/11. “We have to bring an end to terrorism and that can only happen the way Americans started after 9/11, they said let’s go on a spree on the global war on terror. To do that you need to isolate the terrorists, anybody who is sponsoring terrorism has to be taken to task,” he added.
However, the US is still fighting those wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, almost 20 years after the 9/11 attacks and many experts question the impact it has had on combating terror. Candidates for the US presidential election have described these wars as “endless” and are debating ways for the country to exit the region. A recent report said that apart from resulting in thousands of deaths, the wars have cost the US more than $6 trillion.
He also suggested diplomatic isolation and blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as avenues to deal with terror.
Rawat also said that online radicalisation could be checked if the right persons were targeted.
Asked whether he supported negotiations with the Taliban, he said peace talks should be initiated with everybody provided they give up the “weapon of terrorism”.
Rawat also denied allegations of the Indian military being “heavy-handed” and claimed the forces used pellet guns “sparingly”, according to a report in News18.
“Radicalisation can be countered. We saw it happening in Kashmir… Today, we see that young children are also being radicalised. They need to be identified and then we need to put them in de-radicalisation camps. The Indian army has not been using hard tactics… Pellet guns are a non-lethal practice. It is sparingly used,” Rawat said, speaking at the event.
Rawat also said that security forces could not be blamed for injuries caused by pellet guns and that radicalised stone-pelters were “more dangerous” than the pellet guns. “The pellet guns are non-lethal weapons which are now used very rarely and only aimed below the legs,” he said.
Rawat, however, acknowledged that terrorism in Kashmir had to be dealt with with a “heavy hand initially”
“But the reason for high casualties in the services is that the first bullet is being taken by soldiers,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)