New Delhi: Ahead of the crucial meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) next week, India Thursday sought the blacklisting and diplomatic isolation of Pakistan for allegedly sponsoring terror not just here but also in Afghanistan.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat said if blacklisting does not go through, more hard action will have to be taken.
“Any country that is sponsoring terrorism has to be taken to task. I feel blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is one good measure. Diplomatic isolation, you have to do this,” Gen Rawat said while speaking at the Raisina Dialogue 2020 in New Delhi Thursday.
He added that if the blacklisting fails to yield desired results, then hard action needs to be taken. He, however, did not elaborate on what these hard actions would be.
Speaking on terrorism, Rawat said the menace is here to stay as long as there are states that sponsor terrorism and use terrorists as proxies by providing them with funds and weapons.
“We have to bring an end to terrorism and that can only happen the way Americans started after 9/11,” Gen Rawat said. “They said let’s go on a spree on global war on terror. To do that, you have to isolate the terrorists and anybody who is sponsoring terrorism has to be taken to task.”
“The war on terror is not ending, it is something which is going to continue, we will have to live with it, until we understand and get to the roots of terrorism,” Gen Rawat said.
A joint group of FATF will scrutinise Pakistan’s compliance and performance report in Beijing where it is scheduled to meet from 21 January to 24 January. The Pakistani delegation will be given an opportunity to defend each and every point written in its progress report.
Pakistan had recently dispatched its detailed reply running into 120-odd pages along with annexure details of 500 pages to the Joint Group of FATF to share progress on 22 points in a bid to come out of the grey list.
‘Support US peace talks with Taliban’
Gen Rawat further said India supports the ongoing peace talks between the US and the Taliban in Afghanistan. He, however, said the negotiations should be for a long-term peace solution and not a temporary one.
“You have to come to a peace deal with everybody (in Afghanistan),” he said. “If you have to come to a peace deal with them you have to go for negotiated peace. The Taliban or whichever organisation is contemplating terror has to give up that weapon. They must come to the political mainstream and then rule.”
Asked if he thinks the Taliban will give up guns, Gen Rawat said no and added that Pakistan will continue to back the Taliban.
CDS has authority over Service chiefs
Gen Rawat said even though he is the first among the equals vis-a-vis the Service chiefs, the CDS has “some” authority over the chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
“CDS is the first among equals but he has got clear and well defined responsibilities. While he is the first among equals, he has some authority over the three Service chiefs except on operational issues,” he said.
Gen Rawat said the task of the CDS is well cut out and the four will be able to function within the firm framework that has been laid out.
“I don’t visualise any problems. We have had meetings with the three chiefs and a lot of decisions have already been taken in the past 15 days,” he said.
‘Radicalisation can be countered’
Gen Rawat said it is wrong to say that radicalisation cannot be countered, and pointed out that children as young as 10-12 years old were being radicalised in Kashmir.
“Anything that has started can be put to an end… Radicalisation can be countered. You go to start looking at where the radicalisation has started,” he said.
Rawat also said it was important to get to the nerve of the issue and see who is radicalising people.
“You can start isolating these people gradually. And then start a counter radicalisation programme by identifying people who have been radicalised to what degree,” he said, underlining that it is important to separate them according to the degrees of radicalisation.
“In Kashmir we saw radicalisation happening. Today, we are seeing radicalisation happening even among young people. Girls and boys as young as 10 and 12 are now being radicalised. These people can still be isolated from radicalisation in a gradual way. But, there are people who have been completely radicalised,” said the CDS.
He added, “These people need to be taken out separately. Possibly taken into some de-radicalisation camps. We have got de-radicalisation camps running in our country. Let me tell you that even Pakistan is doing the same.”
‘Army is not being heavy handed in Kashmir’
Contrary to the image that has been “created of the Army”, CDS Rawat said, the force was not being heavy-handed in Kashmir.
“Indian Army had to be heavy-handed in the very initial stages when the proxy war was launched on us in the early 1990s. That time we had to use some hard measures. Thereafter, Indian Army has not been using hard tactics,” he said, pointing to the large number of casualties among the security forces.
He added: “If we were heavy handed, we would not be suffering casualties. Because every time we suspect a place to be infested with terrorists, we will just go and blow the place away. But we first take the shot at ourselves and then identify a location where the terrorists are. Only then we start acting. There is a lot of misinformation.”
‘Can’t blame forces for injuries caused by pellet guns’
Replying to a question on pellet injuries to civilians, Rawat said security forces cannot be blamed for injuries on faces of stone pelters in the Valley.
“They were young people, who were radicalised…who were pelting stones that are as lethal as pellet guns. We have had casualties including death being caused because of stone pelting. If the services or the security forces also start using stones against the stone pelters, that is not the way security forces are meant to act.”
The CDS said pellet guns are supposed to be a non-lethal weapon system and fired at the legs. He added that some people bend down while trying to pick up stones and get hit by pellet guns in the face.
“He (security personnel) is not aiming for the face but the leg. I don’t think security forces can be blamed for injuries caused by pellet guns. Now we have devised different ways of dealing with this and pellet guns are very sparingly used. I would say rarely being used in the valley,” said Rawat.
The report has been updated to add Rawat’s quotes on radicalisation, Army actions in Kashmir and pellet injuries.