Afghan endgame poses challenge for 2014: Army

AKHNOOR: A top army commander Wednesday said the current year would be crucial in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the spillover effect of the US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, and polls in the state. 

“I must say that once the troops in Afghanistan leave, once the people are out of job, they (militants) will try to come to this side. We are aware of that reality. We are a responsible professional Army,” Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra, GOC-in-C Northern Command told reporters in Akhnoor. 

Stating that 2014 was a challenge for Army Lt Gen Chachra said, “If there are problems in the neighbouring country, the affect would be found here also. They (militants) want to pollute democratic process in J&K. Terrorists inspired incidents are taking place, but you see that they are targeting soft targets or those areas where they want to achieve success and run away. We are prepared for it.” 

“The militants will make efforts to vitiate atmosphere in Kashmir Valley. We should not give them the cause to vitiate atmosphere so that they cannot start a cycle of violence in Valley or anything to trigger a communal tension,” the Northern Command chief said. 

Chachra added that militant infrastructure was in place across the Line of Control. 

“Number of militants across keep changing, but we know how many camps, how many launching pads are there. Militants are ready to infiltrate, recently their focus has changed from North (Kashmir) to South (South) due to weather conditions. 

“There are reports that attempts were made from North area to infiltrate taking benefit of bad weather. 

“The pattern of infiltration has not changed, the numbers have increased, the attempts have increased, they are still making attempts. It is only that we have put in place a comprehensive counter infiltration strategy which has ensured enhanced security guard on the borders.”

Chachra said Pakistan had sent a Border Action Team (BAT) to disturb peace and inflicted casualties, but the Army responded with “maturity”. “The Army has learnt its lesson and foiled another such action three days ago. The security grid has to be strengthened in a manner that terrorists are not allowed to cross the borders and their ability to incite violence is controlled,” he added.

On the issue of Chinese incursions Chachra said that some incidents of transgression have taken place due to “varying perceptions” of the border. 

“We should have a comprehensive agreement to sort out the differences. The Army is focusing on raising infrastructure in Ladakh so that we have reasonable position there,” he said.  Agencies

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