Army To Be Consulted Before Troop Cut, Says Singh
23 March 2007
New Delhi: Against the backdrop of demands for withdrawal of troops from civilian areas in Held Kashmir, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday made it clear that Army advice on the issue will be taken on board before any decision is taken on it. 'Let me say unambiguously that professional advice, wherever relevant, will be given full scope. There is no question of marginalising professional advice. That misunderstanding or misapprehension has no basis,' he said in response to a pointed query by former Army Chief Gen VP Malik at an event in Delhi. At a luncheon meeting with PDP chief Mufti Mohd Sayeed on Thursday, Singh had given no assurance on troop reduction for the time being but had agreed to continue discussions with him on the issue. 'We are in the process of discussing this matter with Mufti Saheb. He had come at my invitation. I would not like to conduct a dialogue with him through the media. It is not proper for me getting into any such discussion on the subject here,' Singh said. Malik said the PDP demand for demilitarisation and troop reduction had several implications relating to security, Centre- state relations and coalition partnership. There were also apprehensions of politicisation of national security.