May 2004 News

Border Hots Up As Snow Melts

31 May 2004
The Times of India

Pune: The Indian Army is maintaining high alert in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir in view of nearly 4,000 'so-called Mujahideens' camping on the Pakistan side and waiting to infiltrate into Indian territory . This was stated by chief of army staff General N.C. Vij in Pune on Monday after the passing out parade of the 106th course of the National Defence Academy (NDA). 'The next two months are going to be crucial, since the snow has started melting,' Vij said. The army chief said large-scale infiltration in the border areas has been checked effectively because of extensive counter measures like installation of hi-tech surveillance systems, fencing the border and extreme weather conditions. 'Chances can't be taken. Let's wait and see what is in store as the snow has started melting,' he said. Vij said the modernisation drive in the armed forces would continue. 'The Rs 3,500-crore fund for modernisation of the infantry, which was cleared by the previous government, is to meet genuine requirements, and there won't be any alteration in the agenda,' he said. Asked about the fake encounters in Siachen, the general asserted that any person found guilty of moral turpitude in the case would be dealt with severely. 'Such things cannot be encouraged in the army,' he said, adding that an open trial at a military court, headed by a Brigadier, has already been instituted in Jodhpur . The general sounded a note of caution, saying that mistakes of an individual should not be construed as an aberration of the entire army. Reiterating that the Siachen case has been taken very seriously, he said the army has now designated officers of the rank of colonel at its various operational headquarters. On the proposed promotion policy, he said that although it was approved in principle by the previous government, a clearance could not be obtained from the cabinet committee on security (CCS), due to the elections. 'We hope to restart the process soon,' he added. Earlier, addressing the passing out parade, Vij, who himself passed out from the academy in June 1961, reminded the cadets of the type of challenges they would be expected to face in the future. Vij took a salute at the parade and presented medals to three outstanding cadets: the President's gold medal to cadet Amardeep, for standing first in the overall order of merit; silver to Captain Nishad Purohit and the bronze to cadet Dhanprit Pal Singh Bali, for standing second and third respectively in the overall order of merit. The 'Alpha' squadron won the title of overall champion squadron.


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