Srinagar, Feb 18: Militant launch pads in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir “are full”, but the Pakistan army’s attempts to infiltrate militants under the cover of ceasefire violations are being responded to in a “hard and punishing” manner, a senior army commander said here.
Lieutenant General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, who has been heading the strategic command of the Kashmir-based XV corps, is confident that Pakistan would not succeed in its attempts to “push militants in the Valley and disturb the prevailing peace”.
He said peace in the Kashmir Valley has been “cemented by security forces in coordination with various stakeholders including opinion-makers and mentors of the civil society”.
Lt Gen Dhillon, who will soon leave for a posting in the army headquarters in Delhi, joined the strategic command in February last year.
His tenure began on a challenging note as within a week of him taking over, India witnessed a gruesome attack on its security forces in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a suicide bomber targeted their convoy in Pulwama on February 14.
Not yet settled properly in his new role, Lt Gen Dhillon of the Rajputana Rifles, began coordinating operations against the perpetrators of the attack as also monitoring developments along the Line of Control where situation was getting tense by the day.
In a written reply to a question by PTI, Lt Gen Dhillon talked about the history of Pakistan’s “proxy war” and said the neighbouring country has been consistently aiding and abetting infiltration in India for more than 30 years now.
“All the terrorist camps and launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir are full. These militant cadres are desperate to infiltrate with the help of Pakistan army, who indulge in firing at our posts.
“Our befitting response to ceasefire violations has been swift, hard and punishing,” Lt Gen Dhillon told PTI.
He said the Army’s main task is to keep terrorism at bay, both at the LoC and in the hinterland in “conjunction with Jammu and Kashmir police, paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies.”
While maintaining an effective domination along the LoC, he said, conducting effective anti-terror operations “in a people-friendly manner” in the inner areas has improved the situation in the Valley.
He said local business, tourism and education sectors are likely to benefit immensely from the “operational successes, the improving security situation and various government initiatives”.
On the number of militants operating in the Valley, Lt Gen Dhillon said, “We work on concepts and not numbers. And the concept is the constant attempts by Pakistan to infiltrate militants and war-like stores, to commit sensational militant activities.”