Srinagar: A present and a retired army general have proposed creating indigenous social media platforms and deploying 5000 information warriors to reclaim the narrative lost to the secessionists.
In a recent interview, published in the Indian Express Newspaper, Army’s Valley chief, Lt Gen A K Bhatt admitted that the social media in the valley was being used to “radicalise youth as well as to mobilise crowds to sites of counter-terror operations”.
“Social media is the biggest concern for me. This, which is a privilege we have in a democratic nation… why I am calling it a privilege in a democratic nation…” Bhat said.
He said the social media freedo has been actively used be the “adversaries” to their own end.
“You see how China handles it, how other countries handle it and have tight control over social media. Here, social media is entirely free. And the freedom has resulted in this being used very actively by our adversaries.” Creating an “indigenous social media platform” could be the solution,” Bhatt told the Indian Express.
“Calling elements based in Pakistan the “instigators”, he said “all stone-throwing groups in Kashmir have Pakistani numbers”.
Creating an “indigenous social media platform” like China could be the solution,
Former general, who had also served as General officer Commanding, 15 corps, Lt Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain said that 5,000 “information warriors” need to be deployed as part of long-term information outreach.
“For this, there needs to be a young team of 5,000 ‘information warriors’, a research group well-versed in Kashmir affairs, a team of psychologists and Islamic scholars,” Hasanin told The Print in an interview.
Hasnain told The Print that India’s information outreach is the “poorest”, but that is what’s required in Kashmir,
including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where the alienation against Pakistan is high.
“It’s not going to happen overnight. It may take two, three or five years,” he said.
“But we are not geared for it. In 2011, I tried it. We tried it on social media. On the third day, my people ran out of text, they didn’t know what to write. If you don’t have information in your head, if you don’t have knowledge in your head, how are you going to write? There needs to be a young team of 5,000 ‘information warriors”
Hasnain said the United States has got ‘information warriors’, and these are not military men but civilians.
“These ‘warriors’ must be supervisory military staff who have the understanding of military aspects,” he told The Print. “Under them, you need 22, 23, 24 of these nimble-fingered mobile operators.”
The Print reported that his comments came amid talk of a massive army restructuring plan that also involves upping its information warfare and social media propaganda.