Retired Lieutenant General DS Hooda on Friday, 11 January, said that there was “absolutely no harm” in engaging with various leaders who are stakeholders in conflict-ridden Kashmir.
Hooda’s response comes after Army chief General Bipin Rawat said there should be talks with the Taliban to bring peace in Afghanistan, but asserted that the engagement must be without any preconditions.
The retired general said there was “need for engagement” in the valley, both political and otherwise. “As far as talks with various leaders in Kashmir is concerned, I think there is absolutely no harm. There is a need for engagement – political and otherwise – with people in the valley,” said Hooda.
"“What General Rawat has said is nothing new because peace talks with Taliban has been going on for a very long time. The Americans have engaged. It is a part of our policy to bring peace to Afghanistan, there must be talks with Taliban.”" - DS Hooda, Retired Lieutenant General
Earlier, in December Hooda had said that “Surgical strike was overhyped and politicised” and “it is not good” when “military operations get politicised.”
He was the Northern Army Commander in September 2016 when Indian troops carried out surgical strikes in the wake of the Uri attack.
Former CMs Call for Talks With Kashmiri Separatists
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti on wondered why the Centre was not initiating a dialogue with the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir if Army chief General Bipin Rawat could bat for holding talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
We bat for talks with taliban, autonomy for Tibet & Tamil areas of Sri Lanka yet we are unwilling to look at engagement or political initiatives in J&K. Why is our policy all about “do as we say, don’t do as we do”? Engagement for Taliban, Operation All-Out for Kashmir. https://t.co/7PMDfWWN4C— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) January 9, 2019
“If the Army Chief can advocate for talks with (the) Taliban then why different standards when it comes to our own people?” Mehbooba asked in a tweet.
If the Army Chief can advocate for talks with Taliban then why different standards when it comes to our own people? Accept peace offer from Pakistan, initiate dialogue with Hurriyat and other stakeholders put an end to the vicious cycle of violence in J&K. https://t.co/4NJlmvyPVX— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) January 9, 2019
The Peoples Democratic Party president said the Centre should accept the offer of talks by Pakistan and also start a dialogue process with the Hurriyat Conference to end the cycle of violence in the state.
"Accept peace offer from Pakistan, initiate dialogue with (the) Hurriyat and other stakeholders put an end to the vicious cycle of violence in J&K," she added.
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