Jammu & Kashmir National Conference on Thursday condemned and termed the Army Chief’s statement of using strike drones in Kashmir as sad and unwarranted.
In a statement issued from party headquarters Nawa-e-Subah, party’s provincial Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said, “It’s tragic that Army chief had to issue such a statement which tantamount to declaring war against our own people. After what we witnessed during Operation All Out, this new threat of using drone strikes is something that can inflict massive losses, both human as well as economic, on our people.”
“In these three decades, our state has witnessed enough mayhem, bloodshed and chaos. It is in this backdrop that we continue to ask for de-escalation from all sides. Even helicopters were never used in anti-militancy operations but the reference towards using strike drones is not only dangerous and terrifying but can have serious repercussions on the political landscape of the valley,” he said.
Asking the Army chief to review his statement, Imran said, “With such open threats is Army chief trying to reduce situation in J&K to that of Afghanistan and FATA region of Pakistan?”
“It is statements like these which increase the trust deficit among people here. There can be no justification for such use of force in Kashmir considering how civilians have suffered in the last three decades. It is imperative for the powers that be to start building bridges with people and not threaten them with more violent acts. Threats and warnings will only increase hostility,” he said.
“Thankfully the political leadership of the country has always been sensible and its them who have a final say in a thriving democracy. Its therefore incumbent, upon the leadership to openly come out and censure Army chief’s statement of using strike drones in Kashmir,” he said adding, “On the contrary, the government must approach and engage with the youth of the state politically. This is the only way out of the mess we find ourselves in. Using more force was and will never be an answer to a protracted conflict like ours.”
Earlier the Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat has said that they can use drones in Jammu and Kashmir only if people are willing to accept “mistakes and the collateral damage,” said a media report.
Gen Rawat made the remarks while responding to a query whether India will use drones as the United States does.
“There is just no problem in using these kind of weapons” on either the Indian side of the Line of Control or in Pakistan territory, said Gen Rawat, The Wire reported.
“You see, across also there can be mistakes. Either way, whether in your territory or the territory across, there will be mistakes. So if we are willing to accept these mistakes, and we feel that there will be no repercussions, there will be no backlash, there is a way forward,” The Wire quoted Rawat as sayiung.
“It’s not to say that we can’t use it. That is the reason why we are trying to procure these weapons. But these weapons are being procured more for… not for the hybrid warfare systems, we’re looking at it from the conventional war… but yes, anything that we procure has got dual use.”
“But the first issue is of collateral damage. We get so concerned. In your own nation, your people get concerned about collateral damage so much – when you are fighting this kind of warfare, I think you have to accept that collateral damage will happen. It is war. If that is something which we can accept, then there is just no problem in using these kind of weapons.”