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Bipin Rawat for Taliban talks, but no ‘preconditions’

Published : Jan 10, 2019, 1:21 am IST
Updated : Jan 10, 2019, 6:15 am IST

It may be recalled that the Afghan govt as well as the United States and Russia are in favour of engaging with the Pakistan-backed Afghan Taliban.

Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat (Photo: PTI)
 Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat on Wednesday supported the talks (by the concerned parties) with the Taliban, but said it should be without any preconditions, as America’s special envoy on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is visiting New Delhi. The Army chief, meanwhile, also “pitched for some control over the social media to contain the spread of radicalisation and terror funding”.

It may be recalled that the Afghan government as well as the United States and Russia are in favour of engaging with the Pakistan-backed Afghan Taliban. While India is backing the Afghan government to the hilt in peace efforts in that country, New Delhi doesn’t want to talk directly to the Taliban.

“Yes, there should be talks with the Taliban so long as they do not come out with any preconditions and so long as they are looking at a lasting peace in Afghanistan to bring about stability in that country,” the Army Chief said at the “Raisina Dialogue” now being held here.

On the menace of terrorism, the Army Chief, in a veiled indication towards Pakistan, said terrorism is becoming a new form of warfare and it will keep growing like a “multi-headed monster” till nations continue to use it as State policy. In a veiled reference to Pakistan, Gen. Rawat said a “weaker nation” has been using terrorists as a proxy to put pressure on other nations to come to terms with them, and warned against tolerating such a policy.

“If this is going to happen, then there will be states that will be funding the terrorists and allowing them to move around in the manner in which they want to move,” he said, adding that Pakistan has always kept the Taliban in its backyard.

Identifying the social media as a platform to spread radicalism and generate financial resources for terrorism, the Army Chief said the time has come for some control over it. “We see a different kind of radicalisation in Jammu and Kashmir. My take is that terrorism is here to stay so long as there are nations which are going to continue to sponsor terrorism as state policy. We are seeing it happen in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding that J&K’s youth were being radicalised by the use of “misinformation” and falsehoods on religion.

“It is a low-visibility, high-gain option. This is now becoming a form of warfare. We referred to guerrilla warfare some years ago. This is now graduated to terrorism,” he said.

“I think we have a lot to do with the media and the social media, which must be controlled. For this, if one particular nation starts controlling a particular media, it will be taken as media rights are being curbed... Therefore, I think the international community must get together in ensuring that the source of the social media is prevented from spreading false information and disinformation because a lot of funds are coming from people who are getting radicalised,” said Gen. Rawat.

He said radicalisation through social media was also helping in fundraising by terrorist organisations. They are being convinced about the acts of terrorists and the radicalised people are also helping terror outfits generate funds, he said.

Meanwhile, US Afghan special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad began a four-nation tour of India, China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan that will extend from January 8 to 21.  He began his tour in India and is now in New Delhi, meeting Indian officials.

Tags: bipin rawat, taliban
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi