Speaking for the first time after the appointment of an interlocuter in the disputed Himalayan region, the Indian army chief said it would have “no effect on the operations” and the situation in occupied Kashmir has “improved”.
“The appointment [of ex-IB chief Dineshwar Sharma] will not affect army operations. The government’s strategy on [held] Kashmir has worked. The situation in Kashmir has improved and infiltration has come down,” General Bipin Rawat said while speaking on the sidelines of a joint seminar by the army and industry body FICCI on Wednesday, The Hindu reported.
“The government is talking from a position of strength,” he added.
The Modi-led government appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as the Special Representative for occupied Kashmir on Monday to “initiate and carry forward a dialogue with elected representatives, various orgamisations and concerned individuals in the [held] Kashmir”.
However, Islamabad had rejected the New Delhi’s move.
“For any dialogue process to be meaningful and result-oriented, it has to include the three main parties – India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiris,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. “Without the participation of the Hurriyet leadership, no interaction or dialogue would carry any weight or meaning,” it added.
Last week, some Kashmiri leaders and residents had accused the Modi “government agents” of staging ‘mysterious’ braid-chopping attacks in occupied Kashmir to spread fear and divert attention from the campaign for merger with Pakistan.
A wave of brutal and deadly panic had swept the disputed region after more than 100 women said they were victims of attackers who chopped off their hair.