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Senior-most Indian military officer in Kashmir: some Afghan militants may move to Valley after US pullout

The senior-most Indian army officer in Kashmir on Friday admitted that the US pullout from Afghanistan may see a movement of insurgents to this disputed Himalayan region.

General officer Commanding of Srinagar-based army’s 15 Corps Lieutenant General DP Pandey however said that the Indian army was ready to deal with any situation on the Line of Control and the Kashmir hinterland.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a passing-out parade at JAKLI Regimental centre Rangreth in Srinagar outskirts, Pandey said that some people who are fond of freedom (Azadi) must ponder over what is the situation across LoC and the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. “Whatever happened 30 year ago caused a huge distress to the people of Kashmir. Yes, there is a possibility that US forces pull-out from Afghanistan may push some militants into Kashmir.”

“But situation is not what it was 30 years ago. We are ready and fully geared up to foil all bids and to face every challenge whether on LoC or the hinterland.”

The GoC was replying to a query whether US-forces pull-out from Afghanistan would have some sort of fall on Kashmir.

He said that for the army, the first priority is always conventional training, then counter insurgency operations or counter infiltration operations. “Wherever police need us for any kind of operation we are joining them,” Pandey said.

“Ceasefire or no ceasefire, our eyes are set on our enemy. We are ready to face any misadventure be that on the LoC or in the hinterland. We are ready to respond at every level effectively.”

Replying to a query that a lot of weaponry is coming for the army, the GoC said that it was a normal process which is part of annual turn-over. “Given the Chinese situation on the LAC, a balance of forces is being maintained,” he said.
The army officer said that earlier under narco-modules, only money would come but now drugs are also coming. “J&K police is dealing with the narco-infiltration very effectively and a lot of drugs have been seized. It’s high time for parents, civil society, and teachers to keep focusing on children so that they stay away from drugs,” he said.
Asked whether the recent dialogue between J&K politicians and New Delhi would have any impact on Kashmir’s security situation, Pandey said that security situation and political process are two different things. “Dialogue is an ongoing process which is always on. Security situation is a different matter that is being tackled at different levels,” he said.

On militancy in Kashmir, the GoC said that unless the militant network goes, there is a need for a security grid so that people come out and live in a peaceful atmosphere. Asked about the status of infiltration on LoC in Kashmir, he said so far there is zero infiltration this year but launch pads are active. “Whatever happens on the LoC will be dealt with effectively and professionally,” he said.

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