New Delhi, Apr 20: The Indian Army on Friday said it would prioritize bringing “radicalised youth to the mainstream through a collective approach and convince militants to shun violence and gun culture”.
The issue of conducting ‘de-radicalising’ exercises along with counter-militancy operations in the Kashmir Valley was discussed during the ongoing biannual Army Commanders’ Conference that began here on Monday amid reports that IS ideology was moulding new-age militants in the state.
“It was felt that priority must be accorded towards ushering peace by conducting counter-militancy operations that minimize collateral damage. Radicalised youth must be brought into the mainstream by carrying out de-radicalization and collective approach that focuses on convincing the youth to shun violence and gun culture,” Director General Staff Duties Lt. Gen. A.K. Sharma told reporters.
Lt. Gen. Sharma, who earlier headed Nagrota-based 16 Corps in Jammu, didn’t explain what kind of exercise the Army would employ to ‘deradicalise’ Kashmiri youth.
Staring at yet another possible hot summer with hundreds of militants and many civilians already killed in the first three and a half months of this year, dozens of youths in Kashmir have reportedly joined three prominent militant groups: Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and a resurgent Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Top Army commanders during the six-day conference that ends on Saturday also discussed the current situation along the borders with China and Pakistan, particularly “along the Line of Control, the increase in ceasefire violations and the adequacy of the response mechanisms”, said Lt. Gen. Sharma
“The apex commanders confabulated on the prevalent situation in the Valley and reviewed the recent developments affecting modus operandi of the operations of the armed forced deployed in the region,” he said, referring to the trend of civilians rushing to shootout sites to hurl stones at security forces in a bid to help militants escape.
The senior commanders, he said, also deliberated at length on the prevailing situation along the northern borders.
“During the conference, considerable time was spent on re-prioritizing the existing requirements to ensure that the resources allocated for force modernization and capacity building were utilized optimally with the budgetary allocation. The discussions also dwelt upon increasing the content of indigenization in force modernization.”
On the last day of the conference, the commanders would deliberate on matters pertaining “exclusively to military operations”, he said.
Discussions were also held on increasing the share of indigenisation in force modernisation.
“The deliberations appraised the current situation along the LoC, the increase in the CFVs (ceasefire violations) and the adequacy of the response mechanisms,” the Army official said.
The commanders discussed the situation in the Valley and also reviewed the developments affecting the modus operandi of the operations of the armed forces deployed in the region.
Security forces have faced stiff opposition from residents while carrying out operations in the Valley.
“It was also felt that priority must be accorded towards ushering peace, by conducting counter-militants operations that minimise collateral damage,” the official said.
“The radicalised youth must be brought into the mainstream by carrying out de-radicalisation and collective approach that focuses on convincing the youth to shun violence and gun culture,” he added.
The commanders also deliberated on the prevailing situation along the northern borders, capacity building steps, including infrastructure development.
A major focus of the conference was on bolstering the Army’s overall operational preparedness along the nearly 4,000-km-long border with China.
Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a 73-day standoff in Doklam in the Sikkim sector last year after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. The faceoff ended on August 28.
The official said the Army commanders also deliberated upon cyber-security and security of military establishments.