New Delhi: Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Thursday laid a precondition for talks with separatists in Kashmir saying dialogue can happen only when they surrender arms and stop taking support from Pakistan.
“Our position is very clear. Shun the gun and stop taking support from the western neighbour. Talks can happen only if they lay down weapons,” he said while addressing the annual press conference prior to the Army Day in New Delhi.
According to the army chief, security forces are using various strategies to bring situation in Jammu and Kashmir under control and there is standing offer for the militants.
“During Ramzan, we had given opportunity to the separatists to lay down arms. But if someone picks up the gun, we will take action,” he added.
Rawat denied targeting civilians saying the Indian Army was a professional outfit. “However, when terrorists operating from the western border try to cross the border, it becomes difficult to differentiate between a civilian and a terrorist,” he said and added that there were around 300 militants across the LoC waiting to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir.
“We’re adopting both hard and soft approaches. The offer to terrorists to join the mainstream stays. If that happens, people of the state will be benefit the most,” Gen Rawat added.To a query if the militants could infiltrate into India from the Punjab border, Rawat said: “We have state-of-the-art technologies to prevent such activities.”
According to him, the army’s Northern Command would get new sniper rifles by January 20 and added that the force was using quadcopters for surveillance in border areas. “These high-end gadgets help in detecting explosives,” he said.