July 2000 News

Proxy war in J & K ''evident''

22 July 2000
The Hindu

Bhopal: The Army Chief, Gen. V. P. Malik, today said that there is evidence of a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir with increased militant activity and greater effort to send more trained militants from the Pakistan side in recent months. Addressing a press conference here, he said that after a lull in the post-Kargil phase there was now evidence of a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir with more Pak-trained militants trying to cross the border. Since May this year, there had been a larger number of clashes with militants, he said adding that the casualties were high along the line of control and inside. There was no let up from the other side, he said while asserting that the Army, para-military forces and Jammu and Kashmir police were doing a good job meeting the challenge. Asked whether the Army was now better equipped to face the border situation than what it was at the time of the Kargil crisis, the Army Chief said: ''we are better equipped''. While referring to the supply of arms, ammunition and equipment to the Army, he said procedural delays notwithstanding, a lot of work had been done. He added: ''equipping takes time and every thing is not available off the shelf.'' The victory in Kargil had brought the whole nation together, Gen. Malik said adding that the Army could complete its mission by throwing out the Pak Army intruders from Kargil with total support of the people. There was no evidence of militants but only the involvement of the Pakistan Army in Kargil, he asserted. To a pointed query, he said there were lessons from Kargil for every body, including the Army and these had been covered by the Kargil Review Committee. The lessons are both strategic and operational, he said adding that the Army has to learn more from the operational lessons. Asked to spell out the solution for the Kashmir issue, Gen. Teral Malik said: ''this is a serious political question that has to be resolved politically rather than militarily.'' Answering another query, he said that minimum deployment of Army in the internal security matters would be good for the Army as well as the country. The State Governments should be better prepared. Asked to comment on the casualty of young Army officers engaged in anti-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, The gave credit to the junior Army leadership for its performance. He said that the Armymen are there to fight the challenges but pointed towards the number of those killed on the other side as well.


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