Srinagar, May 10: Commenting on the success of recent counter-militancy operations, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat said the forces have not "enjoyed" killing the indigenous insurgents.
While conceding there is angst among the Kashmiri youth against the Army, Gen Rawat said joining the militancy, or participating in stone-hurling protests, is "not the way".
The Army chief said the secession of Kashmir from India is not possible, adding that the disillusioned youth should exercise their democratic rights, rather than turning away from the mainstream.
"I want to tell Kashmiri youth that Azaadi isn't possible. It won't happen. Why are you picking up weapons? We will always fight those who seek Azaadi," he said while speaking to The Indian Express.
"I know that the youth are angry. But attacking security forces, throwing stones at us isn't the way," he added.
Gen Rawat also raised concern over the "fresh recruitments" of Kashmiri youth in militant outfits. The Army chief appealed the parents and elders of the Kashmiri society to prevent their children from resorting to the path of violence.
Calling the self-determination movement "futile", the General said this would only lead to more number of casualties.
"...if you want to fight us, then we will fight you with all our force," Rawat said, adding that the Army, at present, is exercising maximum restraint despite being pushed to the edge. To validate his argument, he cited the brutalities inflicted by the State in "Pakistan and Syria" to crush down the rebels.