Army Advocates Troop-cut21 January 2010
New Delhi: A top Indian army general Thursday advocated reduction of troops in Jammu and Kashmir and strengthening of the state police. Speaking at a seminar on ‘Internal security in Jammu and Kashmir: Historical Perspective and Emerging Scenario’ at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) here today, Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal, who is the Adjutant General at the Army Headquarters, while favouring reduction in the visibility of the army in Jammu and Kashmir called for strengthening the state police force to tackle militancy. Ruling out the presence of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in Jammu and Kashmir, Gen Sabharwal, however, cautioned that the global militant networks were pooling resources with guerrilla outfits in the state to achieve their ends. “We have not seen their (Al Qaeda and Taliban) presence in the State,” he said. The army officer, who has served several stints in Jammu and Kashmir, said cross-border infiltration peaked in 2004 to 3,300 but had come down to less than 100 in 2009. “There has been a perceptible drop in the levels of violence,” he said and added that the fencing along the Line of Control (LoC) has been a major factor in bringing down the levels of infiltration from across the border. He said the army was winning the minds and hearts of people through Operation Sadbhavana (goodwill) under which it had provided health care, worked for development of border areas and opened 50 schools in the state.