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Situation in Kashmir better but fragile: Army

Srinagar, July 26 : Army on Thursday said that the situation in Kashmir Valley is “better but fragile” and claimed that youth have “understood” that stone pelting on government forces was futile.

“The violence parameters which we have seen during 2018 are relatively better as compared to 2017 and earlier years. You would have all seen that a large number of stone pelting activities and the question essentially pertains to that which have been taking place. Stone-pelting activities too, last year it was poor and this year it is relatively less and that shows an understanding, a comprehension in the minds of local youth that it is futile to come out and carry out stone pelting on government agencies or the security forces,” Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Northern Command, told reporters on the sidelines of a function—19th Anniversary commemoration of the ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ at Kargil.

“They need to understand that dividends of peace need to be exploited and slowly but surely the movement is taking place to our mind in that direction. However, sometimes there are incidents which take place and that triggers to spoil and vitiate the entire security situation. This essentially happens because of the various designs of our adversary across the line of control,” he said, adding, “Whenever such an impeders in terms of weapons, in terms of funds or in terms of pushing in a Pakistan trained militants is done, obliviously the situation deteriorates for some time. But overall today the situation is stable, it is fragile, the security forces are in full control and they should be able to handle any of the contingencies that may arise.”

Stating that a large majority of the population of J&K was peace loving, he according to GNS said they want to support the initiatives towards restoration of peace and normalcy in the entire state.

“We have to be very clear, our messages has to be based on our actions. As far as the population of Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, I would like to convey my greetings to all of them for a very good contribution that they are making. A large majority of the population of J&K is peace loving and they want to support the initiatives towards restoration of peace and normalcy in the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The Army commander said that there is “pocket of militants, some of them local militants who have been recruited from the state and there are some who have been pushed from across the line of control.”

“I want to be very clear that should there be any militant activities undertaken, they will be repulsed by the security forces. The Indian Army is carrying out its operations effectively in a very professional manner and to be able to ensure that whatever militants are there inside our nation we should be able to neutralize them.”

He said that army has “complete respect” for human rights and “during the conduct of operations we ensure that there is minimal collateral damage.”

“We try to ensure that there should not be any kind of civilian casualty and our efforts are always focus towards that side.”

He said “adversaries across the line of control” are using militant infrastructure in the Pakistan-administered-Kashmir and in other areas of Pakistan to be able to push the infiltrators or militants across the line of control into “our motherland”. “I wish to assure you that if there is any militant or any person with wrong intentions who tries to cross the line of control from Pakistan-(administered)-Kashmir and steps into our motherland, he shall not be spared.”

The Army commander said that Indian army was fully prepared and “will ensure all efforts are made to see that such militants are not allowed to carry out the various designs in our country.”

“We have to ensure safety, security, and the prosperity of our citizens,” he added.

To a question about situation in Pakistan, the army commander said:  “As far as the internal situation in Pakistan is concerned, I think we will leave it to the Pakistan authorities and its populations to be able to see as how to handle the challenges inside their country.”

On being asked whether army was prepared to deal with situations along LoC, he said: “I only want to take this platform to tell you that Indian Army is prepared for any contingency, any kind of movement, any kind of misadventure which are adversary tries to undertake, they will be given a befitting reply as always. So we very very sure that army is fully trained, we are equipped motivated and always prepared to take on in any contingency.”

Regarding modernization of weapons, the army officer stated that it was an “ongoing process.”

“For the last 19-years after Operation Vijay was successfully fought, we have been able to identify certain areas where we required additional focus, whether it is in the form of infrastructure development close to the line of control or even on the line of actual control or it is improvement of our night vision capability, our surveillance capability, our night fight capability, modernization of the armed forces,” he said, adding, “There is substantial improvement which is taken place so far as the Operation  preparedness of the armed forces is concerned and I think it is only that kind of confidence that I can tell you that the Indian army is fully prepared to take on any challenge along the Line of actual control or along the Line of Control.”