Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat stated that Pakistan has very cleverly changed the complete demography of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) including Gilgit-Baltistan, while delivering the Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Lecture in Delhi on Wednesday.
The Army Chief General also emphasized in his speech that the identity of Kashmiris on the other side of the Line of Control has systematically been eroded by Islamabad.
On Wednesday, while he was delivering the lectures, he asserted, “Every time something happens on our side, of Line of Control, we must always address it to say that it is also going to have a radical effect on other side (PoK). The issue is, on the other side, the complete demography has changed.”
“Pakistan has very cleverly changed the complete demography of so-called Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan. So, one is not very sure as to who is an actual Kashmiri, whom we are addressing these issues to,” added the Army Chief General on the sidelines of that occasion.
Further he said, “People from Gilgit-Baltistan (part of PoK) are also now being taken over gradually by Islamabad. So, to say that there is an identity between our side (of LoC) of Kashmir and the other side, then the identity thing has gradually been eroded very cleverly by the Pakistanis. That is an issue we have to look at.”
The army chief also claimed that the tolerance levels of the people in Jammu and Kashmir have ‘reduced and perceived alienation’ as the youth in the region are being ‘indoctrinated to act irrationally.’
Bipin Rawat also highlighted that “the proliferation of social media has further compounded the challenge and contributes towards the spread of an anti-establishment narrative.”
Further he said that a perception in Jammu and Kashmir is based on whose story you are listening to. Thus, making peace narrative is very different. These narratives are built around the constructs of radicalization, alienation, agitation, religious fundamentalism and anti-nationalism on one hand and the perception of a Kashmiri common man on the other.
In between his lectures, talking about the state J&K, Bipin Rawat explained that things will be brought under control and are being brought under control, but sustained pressure needs to be maintained.
The Army Chief General also expressed concern over allowing funeral processions of terrorists, saying that those who are glorifying terrorists as brave hearts are ‘possibly trying encouraging more people to join the terrorist ranks.’
The army chief’s comments came after two Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF jawans sustained injuries on Wednesday in a stone-pelting incident in J&K Budgam district. A group of people had resorted to stone pelting during an ongoing encounter between the security forces and the terrorists in Chathergram village, according to reports.
On the same occasion while the Army chief was responding to a question ‘if India will follow the footsteps of the United States in using the strike drones to terminate the hostile targets.’
Further he answered that the Indian army is capable of using strike drones in Jammu and Kashmir if the country will accept the consequences of such actions.
He also added that The Indian Army sees no problem in using the strike drones on the potential targets if the people accept their ‘mistakes’ and ‘collateral damages’.
The Army Chief General also highlighted that in India, the way things are moving, ‘it’s nice to say that we need these drones.’
Further while he was asked on the possibility of the Indian army using the strike drones was about ‘across the border.’ He said that “Anything we procure (weapons) has got dual use. The first issue is of collateral damage.”
And then justifying his remarks, he said that when a country is fighting such kind of war, “You have to accept the collateral damage, it will happen, it is war.”