Saha’s Kashmir Tenure Ends, Made DGMO

SK Dua to take over as new GoC Chinar Corps

SRINAGAR: Lt Gen Subrata Saha, General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps based at Srinagar is handing over the command to Lt Gen SK Dua on Wednesday. Saha will move to Army Headquarters as Director General Military Operations. 

Saha took over the reins of the 15 Corps in May 2014 at a crucial juncture. A senior army officer said Saha’s arrival coincided with the time when there were too many apprehensions about developing security situation in Kashmir due to withdrawal of ISAF from Afghanistan, elections in Pakistan and twin elections in Jammu & Kashmir.

Security experts including those from global spectrum had apprehensions that Valley could go back to the era of disturbance and there could be a rapid rise in militancy following American withdrawal. 

“To meet these potential challenges, Gen Saha formulated a two pronged strategy for managing the security situation. While one prong was directed against militants by limiting foreign component at the LoC as well as countering residual militants in the hinterland, the other prong was meant to counter the idea of militancy through his 4E Programme encompassing Education, Engagement, Empowerment and Employment”, he said. 

“A Robust Counter Infiltration Grid along LC ensured zero infiltration for the first time in 2015 since the outbreak of militancy”, he said.

The Army official said that the greatest strength of Saha was his ability to connect with all the cross sections of the society – children, youth or  the elderly-, and collaborative techniques adopted for institutions by giving stand up support and utilizing their implementation acumen. Sports clubs, municipal corporations, associations, colleges, universities and media groups came forward with excellent ideas for the good of the people of Kashmir.

According to the officer Lt. General Saha ensured  that the contradictions , between Army and the other stakeholders in Kashmir,  on account of AFSPA did not exist.  “It was primarily due to his acumen to manage political, social and strategic sensitivities that controversies did not impede the momentum of his operational as well as social initiatives. It was a exceptional and unique that even the separatist leaders had no issues with the Army during his tenure.

Due to his ability to connect, he could use even adverse situations like expiry of lease of Tosamaidan firing range when the State Govt refused to extend the lease, he launched Mission Fallah which went down well with even the activists who were agitating against the same. He led from the front and ensured that the rescue, relief, restoration and rehabilitation work was taken up by  the Army in close cooperation with youth and civil administration. 

“Media hype of relief by National TV channels and the Chhatargam incident appeared to turn into a setback for people friendly efforts of Army, but his appreciation of youth effort during floods and bold acceptance of mistake in Chhatergam turned the tables”.

Usually Army accepts that it has “apolitical” character, however in a place like Kashmir, it is very difficult to avoid getting drawn into the political milieu. In his case, whether it was NC, PDP, Cong, BJP or any other political entity, he kept all of them on board. 

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