Not Apt To Term Chinese Patrolling As Incursions: Lt General Chachra

30 May 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Arun Joshi

Jammu: The Northern Command chief, Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra, on Friday stated that there would be a considerable effect on J&K after the drawdown of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan. The role of soldiers in J&K has been redefined; they have become the 'visible face of the nation' in several remote areas of the state, Lt General Chachra said in an exclusive interview with The Tribune on the eve of his retirement tomorrow. In the interview, he touched upon various issues, including the situation on borders and the controversial issue of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). When asked what is more dangerous: infiltration from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or intrusion by Chinese troops from across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), he said: 'It is a fallacy to compare such dissimilar activities. Infiltration from PoK is a manifestation of Pakistan's proxy war in J&K. Owing to non-sustainability of terrorism in J&K through subversion of local youth, Pakistan has to resort to infiltrating terrorists and criminals from across the Line of Control (LoC) to spread terror in J&K. Chinese incursions: Lt General Chachra said: 'As regards your query regarding 'incursions' by Chinese troops, it is not correct to describe the activities on the LAC in this fashion. The LAC has not yet been delineated and defined and there are differing perceptions of the alignment of the LAC. Accordingly, both sides patrol to the limit of their own perception of the LAC. It is accordingly not accurate to term such patrolling activities as incursions. A comprehensive interaction mechanism has been instituted between India and China and all issues pertaining to India-China relations are in the process of being discussed. The Indian Army is capable and committed to maintaining the sanctity of the LoC and the LAC and adequate measures have been taken to ensure the same. 'Adequate measures have been instituted to ensure that the Indian Army is capable of executing its mandated tasks on the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. In addition, the institutionalised interactive mechanism under the recently actualised Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), 2013, signed during the visit of the Prime Minister to China in October 2013 is an important means to resolve differences and issues arising on the LAC.' Infrastructure on LAC: The 'infrastructure development is an ongoing process and all countries in the world, including both India and China, are constantly improving infrastructure. While it is true that China started developing infrastructure in the Tibet Autonomous Region quite some time back, India has also made deliberate progress in the recent past. This is an ongoing process and plans for infrastructure and capability building are in place, said Lt General Chachra. Infiltration from PoK: 'We have brought infiltration down to negligible levels. While there is no visible change in Pakistan's proxy exertions, our capability to thwart infiltration attempts on the LoC itself has improved significantly. Eight infiltration bids have been foiled on the LoC in 2014 till today and our intelligence agencies confirm that infiltration is almost negligible. Intelligence inputs, however, continue to indicate unmitigated activities in terrorist camps and launch pads across the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Pakistan will continue to make desperate bids to infiltrate terrorists in the summer months but their attempts will be foiled and their designs in J&K will be defeated,' Lt General Chachra said. ISAF withdrawal: On the drawdown of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan, Lt General Chachra said: 'There will be a considerable effect and as a professional Army we are keeping a close watch. However, the impact of the ISAF drawdown from Afghanistan is yet to be felt in J&K. We are adequately prepared to face any challenges posed by such drawdown. 'Security is an all-encompassing and a vast field and there is always scope for improvement. We have already attained a very high state of preparedness to meet all security-related challenges and are equally prepared for new and emergent challenges.' Counter-terror strategy: Lt General Chachra said the army had put in place a five-pronged counter-terrorism strategy. 'The first element of the strategy is synergy between the Army, JKP, CRPF, Intelligence agencies and the civil administration. The second is a counter-infiltration strategy so potent and firm that we do not allow terrorists to come in. The third is the people-friendly surgical intelligence-based clean counter-terrorist operations, with restrained 'rules of engagement', no human rights violation and no collateral damage. The fourth is the strategy of targeting Tanzeem (militant group) leaders with Joint Tracking Teams. The fifth is our 'Winning Hearts and Mind Campaign' to provide succour to masses and cement the people-friendly image of the Army.' Operational capabilities: 'We have acquired enhanced operational capabilities in J&K. Resultantly; the past year has also witnessed transformational changes in the security domain of the state, where despite Pakistan's intransigence, there is a visible socio-economic vibrancy in the hinterland and greater stability on the LoC,' he said. Redefining role of soldiers: 'The recent snowfall, landslides and avalanches in the state were massive. We were the first responders in several cases at Tangdhar, Machhil and Kulgam, saving many lives and assisting the civil administration in rescuing the people and helping the needy. We have reached out to the people under Operation Imdad (help), which we have launched. We have redefined the role of the soldier on the ground - providing safety and security to the 'awaam' (people) -as an instrument of the state and the visible face of the nation in several remote areas. It has been my endeavour to emphasise on our role as 'People's Army',' the GoC-in-C of the Northern Command said. AFSPA issue: 'My relations with the Chief Minister are extremely cordial, interactive and as an invitee to the UHQ (Unified Headquarters) meeting, I provide the necessary advice and security support. This is well appreciated by both the state government and the Army. As regards the AFSPA issue, the Army has its rationale and views based on our perception of the situation in J&K. It is for the government to decide the issue and does not in any way affect professional relationships.'