The Centre’s appointment of an interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir will not have an impact in the military operations in the troubled State, Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday.
Position of strength
“The interlocutor was appointed and tasked by the government…Give him time…It will not have any effect on the Army’s operations in Kashmir. The policy of the government on Kashmir has worked. The government is speaking from a position of strength,” Gen. Rawat said, speaking on the sidelines of a joint seminar by the Army and industry body, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
On Monday, the government appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as the Special Representative for Kashmir to “initiate and carry forward a dialogue with elected representatives, various organisations and concerned individuals in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Gen. Rawat said the situation in Kashmir has improved from the beginning of this year and “infiltration has come down.”
This year, the Army had major successes in eliminating militants including the top leadership, among the highest in recent years. So far, 173 militants were killed by security forces this year and 29 were apprehended in comparison to 150 killed last year.
However the Army also suffered significant casualties in Cease-Fire Violations (CFV) by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC).
Threat of Uri-like attacks
Gen. Rawat warned of more Uri-like attacks on military installations in the hinterland.
“Security of military installations in the hinterland is becoming a cause for concern. We keep getting warnings of Uri-like attacks,” he stated.
In September last year, terrorists attacked the Army camp in Uri close to the LoC claiming the lives of 19 soldiers. Following that the armed forces have begun a series of measures to secure installations based on the recommendations of a high-level committee appointed by the government.
Talking of the technological needs of the Army, he identified Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems as major requirements “to keep an eye on the adversary both on the Western and Northern front” and then to integrate them with other systems in the battlefield. He added that this has to be done with indigenous solutions.