Top Army Commanders review Kashmir situation
11 October 2006
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: The situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast as well as key issues like restructuring the military to meet new challenges were taken up by top Army Commanders during a biannual brainstorming session that began here today. The Army Commanders conference, chaired by Army Chief Gen J J Singh, will review a range of activities, including operational readiness, training and counter- insurgency operations. 'Discussions in particular will be held on 'force restructuring through optimisation of manpower' to formulate a suitable long-term policy on the subject,' said an Army spokesman. A review of training for primary tasks and important administrative matters will also be focussed on, he said. The review of the situation in Kashmir and the Northeast assumes significance in view of a spurt in violence in both regions. Militants have stepped up attacks in Kashmir while the banned ULFA in Assam, one of the leading insurgent groups of the Northeast, has begun targetting security forces after spurning the Centre's offer for peace talks. Other issues that will be taken up at the conference are the confidential roll system in the Armed Forces Medical Service, steps at the ground level to uphold the Army's ethos, the welfare of retired soldiers and a review of the policy for marching contingents for the Army Day and Republic Day. Meanwhile, the second conclave of former Chiefs will be held at Army Headquarters on October 15 and 16 to elicit their views on shaping the force for the future. This year's conclave will be attended by most former Chiefs, including Generals O P Malhotra, Krishna Rao, S F Rodrigues, V N Sharma, Shankar Roy Choudhury, V P Malik, S Padmanabhan and N C Vij. Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw will not be present due to ill health. There will be briefings on general matters related to the Army and its new policies, the welfare of soldiers and sensitive security issues. Following this, the 'considered opinion' of the former Chiefs will be sought to 'assist in shaping the future of the Army in the dynamic environment'. Separate functions will be organised for wives of former Chiefs, including spouses of Chiefs who have died.