Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Thursday (Jan 10) said “Won’t allow homosexuality and adultery in the Army”, despite the Supreme Court decriminalizing it last year.
“The Army is very conservative. We have neither modernised nor Westernised… We can still take action against people. But we will not allow this to perpetuate into the Army. This cannot be allowed to happen. It is a very serious thing,” Gen. Rawat said at the annual press conference ahead of the Army Day on January 15.
“It is hard to argue in these times. But the armed forces find huge resonance in the conservative actions of our society.”
“Aap logon me chalega to chalne do. Humare yahan nahi chalega (We will not allow this to happen in the Army), said Rawat.
“We are not above the country’s law but when you join the Indian Army, some of the rights and privileges you enjoy are not what we have. Some things are different for us, but we are certainly not above the Supreme Court,” he said.
Responding to questions on the peace overtures made by the new government in Pakistan, Gen. Rawat said there was a lot of change, but they were yet to see results on the ground.
Speaking on other issues, the Army Chief said India has been able to maintain peace on its disputed border with China after the informal Wuhan summit last year. He also refused to draw a parallel between talking to the Taliban in Afghanistan and holding talks with separatists in Kashmir, as suggested by some political leaders in the Valley.
On holding talks with separatists in Jammu and Kashmir, Rawat said there can’t be one-size-fits-all approach.
“There’s a group of nations that decided to talk to the Taliban and see if they can come to negotiating table. There is also a feeling in Afghanistan that things have improved…So some nations have decided that let’s start talking to the Taliban to see if they can also be brought in the system of governance and there can be lasting peace,” he said.
He said the same analogy can’t be applied in Kashmir as it was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, and there was no room for third party intervention. “Come to the negotiating table and start talking. Shun the gun, give up violence and stop taking support from the western neighbour… If all that happens who says talks cannot happen….We are saying talks and terror cannot go on together… You have to see your national interest and take a line,” Rawat said.
“You cannot keep killing security forces, abducting cops and say we are ready for talks. It is high time they have to take a call…not take a call at the behest of somebody who is forcing you into violence. Talks can only happen if they give up violence,” he said.
Rawat’s comments came a day after former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti wondered why the Centre was not initiating a dialogue with separatists in the state if the army chief could advocate holding talks with the Taliban.