October 2004 News

J&K, N Ireland Similar, Says UK Army Chief

22 October 2004
The Indian Express

Srinagar: British Army chief Gen Sir Mike Jackson said on Thursday that he sees parallels between the problems of Northern Ireland and Kashmir. The parallels, however, are restricted only to the principles behind a successful counter-insurgency campaign and not the political condition, he clarified. The British Army chief, along with British Defence Attache in India, Brigadier Ido Rees, and several other staff officers, is on a two-day visit to the Valley. Speaking to the media before leaving on a visit to the Line of Control, Gen Jackson said there were indeed parallels between Kashmir and Northern Ireland. 'But we need to be careful, I think, in assuming a situation in one part of the world has a sort of mirror image in the other. But there can be parallels. I do see some here,' he said. 'There are principles in any campaign such as this. The first, very much understood by my Indian colleagues, is that such a campaign is not just a matter of military operations. There must be political progress, economic progress and social development as well. These are very much part of a campaign such as this.' He, however, emphasised that the parallels are not between the political situation in Kashmir and Northern Ireland. 'I am not talking of the political conditions but the principles that lie behind successful counter-insurgency campaigns.' Gen Jackson said, 'All those aspects, which I would expect to be taken care of in a counter-insurgency campaign, are indeed so being done here. I know, done with a considerable success, as the security situation is improving in Kashmir'. He said he was shown statistics that exhibit a 'very considerable decrease' in human rights violations. 'And wherever a soldier goes outside the rules of engagement, action is taken against him'. Speaking about military relations between UK and India, Gen. Jackson said they were close and cited the joint deployment command post exercise-Exercise Emerald Mercury-to be held in the spring of 2005. Reacting to a query about Pakistan's role in cross-border infiltration, he said: 'I am very aware of the concerns that India has for the north-west of the country. The British position is very clear. The Kashmir problem is a matter of the two countries concerned. Obviously Britain would wish for a peaceful settlement.'

 

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