Kartarpur should be seen in isolation: Army Chief

Kartarpur should be seen in isolation: Army Chief

Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat. PTI Photo

Construction of Kartarpur Sahib corridor between India and Pakistan should be seen as an event in “isolation”, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday.

He advised against lowering of guards against the enemy across the border.

“Everybody talks about giving peace a chance. This (Pakistan's move to build corridor) is to be seen in isolation. It shouldn't be linked to anything else,” Gen Rawat cautioned when asked to comment on the construction of the corridor for Sikh pilgrims.

“We have to put sustained pressure on (Pakistan-based) terrorists. This is what we are doing at the moment. If you have one successful year and then you said, lets give peace a chance, it would be a mistake because that would give terrorists a chance to regroup,” he said.

The army chief was responding to queries after delivering a talk at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi.

Army sources said that in 2018, as many as 226 terrorists (up to November 25) were eliminated, this included the 32 terrorists who were killed in November.

The count includes several local commanders of militant units.

In comparison, 2017 saw killing of 213 terrorists and 141 were neutralised a year before.

On Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir police claimed gunning down Lashker-e-Toiba senior commander Naveed Jatt, reportedly one of the assassins of journalist Shujaat Bukhari, who was gunned down in June outside his office in Srinagar.

Asked about where India lags in its counter-terrorism efforts, Gen Rawat flagged the government's inability to utilise its soft power and propaganda machinery to the maximum extent as the areas of concerns.

Such deficiencies, he pointed out, left enough opening for the other side to brainwash the youngsters in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We do have a shortfall on propaganda and social media issues that influences the younger generation in Jammu and Kashmir. There is a gradual transformation of the mosques in J&K with outsiders. The psychological warfare now has to be taken to the next level with the involvement of all agencies to counter such influences,” he said.

Radicalisation of the youth was happening because a lot of falsehood was being pushed through social media, the army chief pointed out.

Gen Rawat also advocated that India use its legal share of Indus water.

“We should not shy away from using the Indus water, which is legally available to us.”

India uses much less water than it was legally entitled under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

The Article III of the IWT permits India to use waters of Chenab, Jhelum and Indus, known as western rivers in the Indus system, for generation of hydro-power as well as for domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use.

According to the IWT, India can use the water in the western rivers to irrigate up to 13,43,477 acres of agricultural land.

But India uses the water to irrigate only 7,92,426 acres of land at the present moment.

Though the IWT allows India to construct reservoirs on the western rivers with maximum total storage capacity of 3.6 million acre feet; New Delhi is yet to build any such storage facility.

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