Total Pageviews

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

GOC 15 Corps: 300 militants operating in Valley, 600 more ready to enter from PaK

US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 will have disastrous impact in region’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jul 17: Lt Gen Atta Hasnain’s successor and the newly appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15th Corps, Lt Gen Om Prakash, today indicated Army’s continued opposition to revocation of J&K Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) when he claimed that despite the thaw in violence as many as 200 to 300 militants were operating in Kashmir valley. He claimed that 500 to 600 more Pakistan-trained and armed militants were ready to infiltrate into the Valley from Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

At his maiden interaction with media in Srinagar, Lt Gen Om Prakash chose to be non-committal on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s unrealized demand of withdrawing AFSPA. He, however, described the situation as not-so-normal with his assertion that inspite of the al-pervading indications of peace and normality, 200 to 300 militants were still active in the Valley. According to him, maximum of the remnants of guerrilla concentration was currently in north Kashmir. Gen Prakash claimed that 500 to 600 more militants were “ready to infiltrate” into the Valley from PaK as Pakistan had not completely dismantled the terror infrastructure. He claimed that indoctrination, training, funding and arming the militants was continuing across the border.

Head of all ground troops---combat as well as counterinsurgent--- in Kashmir, Gen Prakash said that insurgency had been decisively crushed over the last 23 years in J&K. He said that the state had  witnessed a turning point in the situation in the years around 2000 when nearly two thousand militants were wiped out by security forces in just one calendar year. He said that the improvement in situation and reduction of militancy was a continuous process and the state was already enjoying many of its dividends but asserted that zero-infiltration and zero-violence was not possible until Pakistan stopped her support to militants. He said that geography and terrain around the LoC and International Border between India and Pakistan was also significantly responsible for continuance of infiltration and militant activity in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that some of the militant outfits like Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, were also recruiting, indoctrinating and equipping cadres locally.

 Gen Prakash expressed his apprehension on the potentially dangerous situation emerging in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to him, scheduled withdrawal of the American troops from Afghanistan in 2014 could have catastrophic implications on the entire Afghanistan-Pakistan-India region, particularly on the strife-ravaged state of Jammu and Kashmir.

India wants stable and peaceful Afghanistan that is why it is helping the country to build its infrastructure,” he added.

Gen Prakash described the recent incidents of terror, particularly the killing of a soldier in broad daylight at the highway township of Pampore, as “serious” and claimed that armed forces had observed maximum possible restraint and avoided retaliation of firing for fear of civilian casualties.

As regards the security on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which has currently tourism and Amrnath pilgrimage as the most dominating features, Gen Prakash said that security forces and Police had intensified their surveillance, more so in the wake of certain inputs that indicated possibility of militants strikes in South Kashmir.

Contrary to apprehensions of sports icons like Sunil Gavaskar, Gen Prakash believed that revival of cricket diplomacy between India and Pakistan could ease out tension and lead to more dividends of peace between the two countries.


No comments: