March 2005 News

Army Poised To Win Proxy War In J&K: Army Chief

24 March 2005
The Daily Excelsior

Rajouri: Asserting that Army was poised to win the proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief of Army Staff, General J J Singh said arrangements had been made in advance to repair the border fencing after the snow melts. Talking to media persons in this border town this evening, he said though Army would be soft towards the local misguided youth in case they wanted to surrender, foreign terrorists would be dealt with a heavy hand. No independent country will let foreign terrorists to enter its territory, the Army chief said and added, we have iron fists for terrorists and velvet gloves for the innocent people. We will fight to win terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, he asserted. Gen Singh said people had now started realising the futility of the gun and wanted the peace to return to the State. He said though he could see light across the tunnel, the role of the people of Kashmir would be final in ensuring the return of peace to the State. He hoped that like the people of Punjab, who did not want to be reminded of the days of terrorism in their State, the people of Jammu and Kashmir would also one day talk about only peace and ways that lead to prosperity. The Army chief said he today flew over certain border areas in the Pir Panjal range, but could not see the fencing as it was totally covered under 40-50 ft snow. Under these conditions, it was not possible to comment on the extent of damage caused to the barbed wire fencing, he added. When snow melts, repair work will be carried out and all the requisite arrangements have been made for the purpose in advance, he said. In reply to a question, Gen Singh said though fencing had helped a lot to stop the flow of militants to this side from across the borders, it was not the only way of stopping infiltration. There were night vision devices, UAVs, censors and most importantly the troops to keep an eye on the infiltrating groups of militants, he added. Asked how difficult it was for Army to stop infiltration when the fencing was completely buried under snow, the Army chief said it was easy to detect any movement on the white blanket of snow. He said the border troops were maintaining a round-the-clock vigil to foil any infiltration bid from across the borders. He said the primary role of the Army was to defend the nation from internal aggression and give a befitting reply whenever challenged. The opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road would increase people-to-people contact, he said and added that Army had constructed Aman Setu (peace bridge) on the border near Uri for the April seven bus service. Asked if he would also like to go to Muzaffarabad, he chose to say that it was a very hypothetical question. He, however, hurriedly added that the road was first meant for the divided families. Gen Singh said the Government had asked Army to ensure the safety of the road and make necessary arrangements to keep militants away. He said he had felt a change in air in Kashmir and smile was back on the faces of Kashmiris. As the momentum changes, the prosperity would be back to the State, he added. The Army chief said Army had come to the rescue of the people and snow scooters were also pressed into service when the State was hit by a Tsunami-type snowfall in the recent past. Earlier, GOC Nagrota Corps, Lt Gen Sudhir Sharma briefed him about the situation prevailing in Jammu region. He also reviewed the security situation in Srinagar, Baramulla and Gulmarg. He flew back to New Delhi in the evening.


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