October 2003 News

'Troops Not To Be Withdrawn From Key LoC Posts'

27 October 2003
The Pioneer

New Delhi: The constant engagement of the top political leadership with military establishments to ensure a smooth chain of command in times of any exigencies and the situation Jammu and Kashmir are the main agendas of the six-day combined commanders' conference, which started here on Monday. Given the security scenario in the Indian sub-continent, the future wars, be it the proxy war, limited or full scale, would be fought under the shadow of the nuclear threat and the political leadership had to be kept abreast of all options. All these options forming the operational war-gaming were part of the annual commanders' conference of the three Services. While maintaining that the troops would not be withdrawn from key forward posts along the Line of Control (LOC) in Jammu and Kashmir, Army chief General N C Vij disclosed here on Monday the country's political leadership, including the prime minister, was being involved in operational war games. Incidentally, the army was scheduled to give a detailed presentation about the ground situation in the state to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on November 1. Talking to reporters after laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to commemorate Infantry Day, General Vij said the involvement of the political leadership was imperative to ensure that there was a smooth chain of command in times of conflict and the conduct of war. The three Services would be presenting the various scenarios and threats to the political leadership during the combined commanders' meet on November 1. This would enable the leadership to understand the ground situation and take decisions in the eventuality of a conflict, officials explained later. They said the shadow of the nuclear threat needed the Services to explain to the political leadership the escalatory ladder of a conflict and the threshold of nuclear deterrence. The briefings over the next one week would see the Services making presentations in this regard, it was learnt. Moreover, the remarks of the army chief assumed significance and indicated that the political leadership and the defence establishment had learnt a valuable lesson from the year-long Operation Parakaram to remain engaged in decision-making. Operation Parakaram saw troop-mobilisation on the Indo-Pak border in the wake of the terrorist attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would also be given a detailed presentation about the security situation in Kashmir on November 1 by the Army top brass, where Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha, Defence Minister George Fernandes and Finance Minister Jaswant Singh were also scheduled to attend the conclave, officials said. The presentation was likely to help the government chalk out steps for the future course of action as regards the peace offer to Islamabad and also to start a dialogue with moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference. Assessing the situation in Kashmir, General Vij told reporters the upgradation of weapons of the anti-insurgency units and boosting of surveillance capabilities had seen more militant interceptions as well as a decline in fidayeen attacks on military establishments in the last few months. Other highlights of the annual conference included presentation about the army recently setting up the first artillery division in the Southern Command. This division included three to four missile groups armed with short and medium range Prithvi and Agni missiles.


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