In a gesture that has sent a positive response to the Indian armed forces, the Army chief General Bipin Rawat has strongly come out in support of his men over the human shield controversy saying that his men needed innovative ways to fight the "dirty war" in Kashmir.

"This is a proxy war and proxy war is a dirty war. It is played in a dirty way," Rawat told PTI. When stones and petrol bombs are being thrown at Army personnel, he said he cannot tell his men to 'just wait and die'.

"The rules of engagements are there when the adversary comes face-to-face and fights with you. It is a dirty war.... That is where innovation comes in. You fight a dirty war with innovations," Rawat told PTI.

"In fact, I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then I would have been happy. Then I could do what I (want to do)," Rawat told PTI.

He added that the Indian Army is a friendly force and is practising maximum restraint to deal with the Kashmir situation. Rawat noted that the force can only do its job if the country fears it. "Adversaries must be afraid of you and at the same time your people must be afraid of you. We are a friendly army, but when we are called to restore law and order, people have to be afraid of us," he said.

The top army boss made the statement days after Major Leetul Gogoi of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles was awarded a Commendation Card for the former's role in countering insurgency in Kashmir. In his PTI interview, Rawat said that Gogoi's commendation was awarded, with the aim of boosting the morale of his troops.

The Army Chief's stance in support of the army has been applauded by country's top defence experts. "It was very important for the Army Chief to say this because it increases the morale and motivation of the Army. And it sends a very strong message to the society. I totally stand by it," Defence expert Major General (Retd.) P.K. Sehgal told ANI.

A similar opinion was expressed by Defence expert Wing Commander (Retd.) Praful Bakshi as well. "He has made a correct statement. It is true that extraordinary situation requires an extraordinary solution," he told ANI. 

"What Major Gogoi has done is extraordinary solution, a normal officer could not have thought of it. He had carried it out beautifully and has done absolutely clean action without firing any bullet. I personally feel he must have got a bigger award than what he got,"  Bakshi added.


With PTI inputs