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Revoking AFSPA will not help Kashmir: Army Chief
Talks tough on infiltration and ceasefire violations by Pakistan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13
Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Monday warned against revoking or diluting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir and said he was positive that recent talks with Pakistan and China would ensure peace along the border.

"There are inputs of a possible terrorist spillover into the Valley after the US drawdown in Afghanistan. We need to look at developments in Afghanistan in 2014 before we can look at perhaps tampering with or diluting the Disturbed Areas Act,” the General said while addressing the media ahead of the Army Day (Jan 15). It would be prudent to wait and watch for a while before taking a call on AFSPA, he said.

On recent talks between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan, the Army Chief said: “The meeting was very positive. The Indian side has taken up with Pakistan all issues pertaining to the peace and tranquility at the Line of Control (LoC).”

“The talks are a step in right direction and will help in maintaining the ceasefire agreement. Peace is conducive for development and helps in addressing aspirations of people along the LoC.

He, however, warned any infiltration attempt from across the border would elicit a strong response. "We will give a befitting reply if an infiltration attempt is made,” the General said. The Army Chief said the idea is not to escalate tension along the LoC but to give a professional response. “If rules are broken (by Pakistan), we cannot follow rules... then rules will be broken”, he said. To a query whether the Army gave an adequate response to Pakistan following last year’s gruesome beheadings or not, the General said: “This assertion that the Army has not taken action is not correct”.

"Let me assure you that action has been taken. I invite the attention to a Geo TV (Pakistan news channel) report on December 23 which talked about their officer and nine jawans being killed and over 12 wounded. This has happened due to firing of your soldiers on the ground. They have done their bit," the Army Chief told reporters.

He pinned hopes on the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) signed in October 2013 for maintaining peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Asked about India’s response to frequent incursions by Chinese troops in Ladakh, the General said: “We have increased patrolling in disputed areas. There has been an improvement in the situation along the LAC. Attempts are on to ensure that the agreements are adhered to.”

The General said the Army was boosting the combat enhancement and operational readiness of the troops. A Quick Reaction Force is being formed, he said. Also, 40 acquisition programmes worth Rs 24,000 crore would be cleared this fiscal. On women officers, the General said the Army was looking at having more avenues for women officers. On a mysterious video purportedly showing the head of Lance Naik Hemraj, who was beheaded by Pakistan Army last year, he said the force was verifying the authenticity of the footage and if it is correct, it would be taken up at an appropriate level.’

What the General said

  • There were inputs of a possible terrorist spillover into the Valley after the US drawdown in Afghanistan
  • The DGMO-level talks are a step in the right direction and will help in maintaining the ceasefire agreement
  • Any infiltration attempt from across the border would elicit a strong response
  • The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement signed with China in October 2013 vital for maintaining peace along the LAC

3 JeM militants killed

Srinagar: Three militants of Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) were killed in a four-hour gun battle in a village near Sopore in north Kashmir on Monday. Two militants, who were part of the group, are believed to have escaped. Two Armymen were also 

Infiltration bid injured.

Poonch: The Army on Monday foiled an infiltration bid in the Krishna Ghati Sector along the LoC in Poonch district. Sources said the troops noticed some suspicious movement across the border at 6.15 am. On being challenged, the intruders opened fire, resulting in a prompt response from the Army. The exchange of fire continued for over 15 minutes. 





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