New Delhi: Young children being radicalised need to be identified and placed in de-radicalisation camps, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said on Thursday at the Raisina Dialogue, a conclave of global affairs being hosted by India.
“To say that radicalisation cannot be countered, I don’t agree with this. Anything that has started can be put to an end. Radicalisation can be countered. You have to start looking at where the radicalisation is happening. And who are the people who are radicalising these people. It is happening in schools, universities, religious places and sites, and there are a group of people who are spreading this,” he said.
“So you first get to the nerve of who is radicalising people. Then you can start isolating these people gradually and then start the counter-radicalisation program while identifying people who have been radicalised to what degree. You have got to segregate them into degrees. And then look at those who are completely radicalised, target them but then start also looking at the future.”
“Like what we are seeing in Kashmir… we saw radicalisation happening. Today we are seeing radicalisation being undertaken even among the young people. Girls and boys as young as 12 are now being radicalised. These people can still be isolated from radicalisation in a gradual way. But there are people who have completely been radicalised. These people need to be taken out separately, possibly taken into some de-radicalisation camps. We have de-radicalisation camps going on in our country. Let me tell you, even Pakistan is doing the same. Pakistan also has de-radicalisation camps. They have understood that some of the terrorism that they have been sponsoring is actually hitting back at them,” he added.
Speaking at the event, former army chief Rawat also denied allegations of the Indian military being “heavy-handed” and said the force uses pellet guns “sparingly”.
Rawat, however, conceded that the terrorism in Kashmir had to be dealt with with a “heavy hand initially”. “But the reason for high casualties in the services is that the first bullet is being taken by soldiers.”
He added that the “ideology of radicalisation” needs to addressed along with an end to “online radicalisation”.
The former army chief, whose tenure saw India’s tensions with Pakistan reach fever pitch, including an aerial confrontation and the brief capture of an Indian Air Force pilot, also batted for emulating the war on terror launched by the US after the 9/11 attacks.
"As long as there are states which sponsor terrorism, we will have to live with the menace. We need to take the bull by its horns and strike at the root cause," he said in an oblique reference to Pakistan.
"If we think war on terrorism is going to end, we are wrong," Gen Rawat said. He said the countries which are sponsoring terrorism cannot be part of global fight against terror networks.
"You cannot have partners who are partnering global war on terrorism and yet sponsoring terrorism... There has to be diplomatic isolation of those sponsoring terrorism. Any country which is sponsoring terrorism has to be taken to task," he said.
Speaking about his new role as the chief of defence staff, India’s first, Rawat said, “I think the task is well cut out and we will be able to function within the firm framework which has been laid out for the CDS. I don't visualise any problems. We've had meetings with the three (service) chiefs and a lot of decisions have already been taken in the past 15 days,” he said.
Asked whether he supports negotiations with the Taliban, he said peace talks should be initiated with everybody provided they give up the "weapon of terrorism".