Reacting to Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s statement that like adversaries, people of the country should also be afraid of the Army, the Congress on Monday said that while it understands the Army Chief’s position, it has to be borne in mind that counter-insurgency operations are also about winning the hearts and minds of the people. The party also questioned Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s remarks that the NDA government has come up with a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue.
Speaking to mediapersons, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said he doesn’t envy the Army Chief as nobody would like to be in his boots. “The Army is dealing with a tough situation and we can understand as to where he is coming from. But then it also has to be borne in mind that the Indian Army has perhaps the widest experience in counter-insurgency operations. In fact, a large number of counter insurgency manuals in various other parts of the world, have actually imbibed the experience of the Indian Army. And one of the fundamental tenets… of counter-insurgency operations, is winning the hearts and minds of the people. And we would leave it at that,” he said.
Calling the Home Minister’s statement regarding a permanent solution curious and enigmatic, he said, “Would the Home Minister care to explain… what are the contours and calculations of the phraseology ‘permanent solution’, because anybody who has a nodding acquaintance with history understands that the phraseology permanent solution, final solution, has extremely disturbing implications and history has been witness to the rather disastrous consequences of this permanent solution/final solution in action,” Tewari said.
He said that while Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has been asking the Centre to engage with the Hurriyat Conference and Pakistan, PDP’s partner in the ruling alliance BJP has been hell bent upon playing the jingoistic national card. “This ideologically incompatible alliance between the PDP and the BJP has driven Jammu and Kashmir absolutely to an edge…. If there is so much of ideological dissonance, if there is no agreement on the agenda of an alliance, if the agenda of alliance is not worth the paper it is written on, then why are they continuing in the government together?” he asked.