‘Guv rule in J&K should show better avenues for youths’

Kaumudi Kashikar Gurjar
Sunday, 7 October 2018

In a telephonic interview, former Director General of Defence Intelligence (DGDI) Lt Gen Vinod Khandare speaks to Kaumudi Kashikar-Gurjar on what needs to be done to improve the situation in Kashmir and how Indian Army is taking efforts to provide professional coaching to students from the valley aspiring to take up professional engineering and medical courses.

In a telephonic interview, former Director General of Defence Intelligence (DGDI) Lt Gen Vinod Khandare speaks to Kaumudi Kashikar-Gurjar on what needs to be done to improve the situation in Kashmir and how Indian Army is taking efforts to provide professional coaching to students from the valley aspiring to take up professional engineering and medical courses.

What change will Imran Khan becoming Prime Minister of Pakistan bring to the Indo-Pakistan relations?

Imran Khan is the candidate supported by the deep state - actual controllers of Pakistan’s destiny - the Pakistan Army, the ISI and the clerics - mullahs and maulanas. They ensured former prime minister Nawaz Shariff and his daughter were put behind bars. This denied them the freedom to campaign for the elections, which Imran Khan and his party had. It was evident that Imran Khan was the unanimous choice of the deep state in Pakistan. If you consider the statements made by Imran Khan, they are related to the wrongdoings of the previous governments including the financial mess that he is finding himself in. He appears to be giving an impression that he is not willing to annoy Pakistan Army and ISI with respect to the foreign policy. Historically, in Pakistan, whenever a democratically elected prime minister has tried to change the foreign policy, especially towards India, that prime minister has not lasted. In a real democracy, foreign policy is never held hostage by the Army, except in Pakistan which in actual sense is a poor reflection of democracy.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik recently said India’s mistakes alienated Kashmiris. Since you have worked as the GOC of 19th Infantry and handled the situation there, how would you reflect on the governor’s statement?

We need to consider the change that came in Kashmir post-1987 alleged bungled-up election. The feeling of alienation started creeping in the minds of Kashmiris as a result of the manipulations that are believed to have taken place during the 1987 elections in J&K, in which Farooq Abdullah had won. That was the time, post-elections large groups of Kashmiri youths crossed over to Pakistan as they felt cheated. Syed Salahuddin, also went to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir making a statement that he felt cheated. He heads a terrorist tanzeem. So, the generation born in Kashmir after 1989 is witnessing protests, curfews, stone pelting after summer of 2010 sponsored by the ISI from the Pakistan side and controlled by Hurriyat on the Indian side. The unrest in the summer of 2010, where they tried to copy Intifada - a Palestinian method of protest. In the book ‘The Spy Chronicles’ by then ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani and RAW’s AS Dulat, Durrani has said that Hurriyat was created by them. Hurriyat is leading people to demonstrate against the security forces. I am not sure if the governor implies all these things, but alienation started a long time ago.

How can the situation in Jammu and Kashmir be controlled?
Now with the governor’s rule, this is time for the government to show better governance and provide better infrastructure and avenues for the children there. The second most important thing, this conflict is only ‘managed’ by the security forces. However, the conflict resolution has to be done by politicians. Meaningful leaders who are followed by the youths should to go back to their constituency and win their confidence by making them understand the need is to resolve the conflict and get on to paving a way for a peaceful future for their next generations.

Please elaborate on the initiatives undertaken by the Indian Army for youths of Jammu and Kashmir?
A number of good schemes have been launched by the army. When I was GOC in 2013, we started among many other schemes, a youth empowerment  scheme for meritorious students who want to make a bright future for themselves akin to other students anywhere else in the country, It was called ‘Super 30, wherein the best 30 students from Kashmir Valley were selected through a merit-based process for IIT coaching. Many cracked the entrance examination. Now, many of them have secured good jobs. My successors continued with the scheme and further improved on it. Now, every year 50 students are selected for IIT coaching, which is arranged by the Indian Army. This year, 30 students are being selected for coaching for the medical entrance test, this includes girl students too.

How will you respond to the controversy created by the opposition regarding the surgical strike? 
The surgical strike which means carrying out hits and raids across the line of control is always a reaction. This was a reaction to their attacks in Uri, wherein they killed many of our soldiers. We wanted to warn them that we will not tolerate this. The surgical strikes have taken place earlier but it used to be one battalion carrying out action against another in Pak. Here, they did at one place, this time, we did it at seven places, so it was an absolutely well considered call and decision of the government. To answer if it is being used for political gain, I would say the armed forces never think if our actions will lead to political gains to some party. For us, it’s a national task and we exist to ensure that our national honour is not compromised. When the success of surgical strikes is questioned, it definitely demoralises those people who risked their lives. Imagine the the kind of effect it has on the nation’s future generations. Hence, instead of being short-sighted and trying to score brownie points through making it a political issue, the nation needs to grow up and look at it nationally. As long as the methodology is not disclosed, there is no issue, however, we must guard against giving out precise details and endangering future operations. Such details were not revealed, as far as I know.

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