September 2003 News

Kashmir insurgency is akin to Northern Ireland: UK general

26 September 2003
The Daily Times

SRINAGAR: Britain's military chief compared the separatist insurgency in Kashmir to the situation in Northern Ireland as he visited military bases and met with Indian army commanders on Friday in the Himalayan region. 'We have a similar problem in our country, which we have been dealing with for some 30 years,' said Gen Sir Michael Walker, chief of the defence staff. 'It is very interesting to look at the common threads between these two campaigns.'Gen Walker described the conflicts in both places as 'terrorist campaigns'. He visited the army headquarters in Srinagar and held discussions with military commanders on cross-border infiltration and combating terrorism. But he said the British army would not get directly involved in anti- insurgency operations against Kashmiri rebels who have been fighting for the region's independence or merger with Pakistan since 1989. 'It would be most unlikely that India would invite British forces to take part in combating militancy,' Gen Walker told journalists in Srinagar. Lt Gen Abhay Sharma of the Indian army said Pakistan was continuing to support militancy in Kashmir and that infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC). Gen Walker said Indian generals had made the case strongly that there was support for terrorism from across the border. 'From what I see and hear that seems to be case,' he added. -AP


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