August 2001 News

J&K situation militarily stable, says Army chief

17 August 2001
The Times of India

New Delhi: Army chief General Sunderajan Padmanabhan on Friday asserted that the situation in the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir was ''militarily stable'', with the security forces notching up ''significant successes'' against militants. ''The situation is not bad at all...significant chunks of leadership of some major militant outfits have been eliminated,'' said the chief, adding that the under-pressure terrorists were targeting innocents as a result of this. ''Well, the security forces are certainly going hammer and tongs against the militants after the ceasefire or the Non-Initiation of Combat Operations was scrapped, to achieve an over-all degree of dominance in the state. In the last two months alone, the Army claims to have killed over 450 militants.'' Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a function to honour the recent successful Army expedition to the 8848-metre-high Mt Everest, Gen Padmanabhan said infiltration across the border these days had drastically reduced in comparison to earlier times. It is impossible to man every inch of the mountainous border, said the Army chief. Though the Army is going in for ''electronic surveillance'' along the border, Gen Padmanabhan said they could be no substitute for ''good foot patrolling''. As for ''exfiltration'', in terms of people crossing over to Pakistan for militant training, the chief said it was not much. For the last couple of years, the Pakistan-based militant outfits were training new recruits in remote jungles within J&K itself. ''That they are now going across shows something has alarmed them on this side,'' he added. On being asked when the structures associated with the proposed Chief of Defence Staff would come into existence, Gen Padmanabhan merely said the details had been worked out and the government was now ''giving them final shape''. Earlier, defence minister Jaswant Singh and the Army chief praised the Everest expedition team for showing exceptional skill, initiative, ability and dedication. ''May the Indian Army conquer many more heights in the days to come,'' said the minister.


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