Army Chief: Things Not Yet Normal In Terrorism Affected Areas
1 October 2007
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: Taking over the command of the Indian Army on Monday, Gen Deepak Kapoor said troops withdrawal from the insurgency affected areas of North Eastern India and Jammu and Kashmir is ruled out at this stage. 'Normalcy has not yet returned to these areas. The army will continue to fight terrorism. Troop reduction will happen as and when the government decides after assessing the situation,' Gen Kapoor said shortly after inspecting the guard of honour to mark his taking over as the 23rd chief of the Indian Army. Significantly, Gen Kapoor's remarks come a day after his predecessor Gen JJ Singh said levels of attrition and violence in these areas came to down to one-thirds during his tenure. 'There are signs of normalcy. Violence and casualties on our side in J and K and the North East have been contained to about one-thirds of what they were,' Gen Singh had said on Sunday, his last day in uniform. Gen Kapoor said how the role and size of the army changes in the future would depend on conditions within the country and on India's status as a regional and global force. 'Force modernisation remains my number one priority,' he said. The new army chief said the improving the image of the army is among the important tasks he has listed for himself. He was speaking on the increasing cases of corruption across all ranks. 'It is a challenge and in the army we are taught to face challenges,' he said. The other areas that the army needs to focus on are joint working with the navy and the air force and developing a better culture and ethos, Gen Kapoor said. Of late, the army has been plagued by instances of suicides and fratricide.