Govt needs to step up outreach in Kashmir: Ex-Army Chief

Kolkata, August 22 (KMS): Former Army chief of India, Gen Shankar Roychowdhury said, the government needs to step up outreach in Kashmir and reassure people there that India will continue to be a secular democracy.

The retired General, said that India needs to reach out to both former Afghan government forces rallying around Ahmad Masood, son of the late Ahmad Shah Masood, in Panjshir Valley, as well as to factions within the Taliban which are friendlier to India.

“We have to step up our outreach to Kashmiris, we also have to re-assure them that India will continue to be a secular democracy,” General Roychowdhury who currently heads a strategic think-tank Research Centre for Eastern and Northeastern Studies, told in a media interview.

The Indian government had scrapped Article 370 and turned Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh into two separate union territories from being a single state, while placing most Kashmiri leaders under detention.

“We need to understand that the victory in Afghanistan is being seen as a Pakistani victory and an Indian defeat…. We have to organise ourselves for a renewed offensive by elements like the JeM,” said Gen Roychowdhury.

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