J&K visit: security tops Modi’s agenda

June 29, 2014 02:09 am | Updated November 26, 2021 10:25 pm IST - Srinagar/New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir on July 4 is expected to bring more clarity on the new government’s policy on the Kashmir issue.

Apart from an extensive security review meeting with army, paramilitary and intelligence officials, Mr. Modi is also scheduled to inaugurate a National Hydroelectric Power Corporation of India project on river Jhelum in Uri and flag off the inaugural train at the newly-constructed Katra Railway Station — the base camp of the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage in Reasi district — during the daylong visit.

During the election campaign, Mr. Modi had promised to carry forward former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s policy on Kashmir but statements from Union Ministers after he came to power have been a source of apprehension in the State. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office, said the process of annulling Article 370 had already begun, and Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Centre was willing to speak to those “who want to function under the Indian Constitution and Indian sovereignty,” short of Mr. Vajpayee’s formulation that a solution would be sought within the framework of humanity.

“Free flow” of foreign funds through NGOs and hawala channels to sustain insurgency and the separatist movement, a purported al-Qaeda threat to extend its base to the Valley after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, spurt in jihadist attacks in Pakistan, ceasefire violations and infiltration of militants besides the proposed upgrading of the border fencing will be key issues during Mr. Modi’s first security review in the State.

According to official sources, Mr. Modi will hold a three-hour extensive security review at the Army’s 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar.

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