Time Not Ripe For Troop Cut, AFSPA Must In J&K: GOC-in-C15 January 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Lt Gen K T Parnaik, has said that time was not right to go for 25 per cent reduction in troops in Jammu and Kashmir while Armed Forces Special Powers Act was essential for performance of forces in the troubled State. Responding to the statement of Union Home Secretary G K Pillai regarding troops reduction, the Northern Army Commander while talking to media persons at the sidelines of the Investiture ceremony on Army Day at Akhnoor, about 30 kms from here today said, 'I don't think it is right time to go for troops reduction in J&K. Relocation of troops always exists in the forces and depends upon the requirement and is dynamic process. It may be somebody's opinion or perception but we think there is no scope for reduction of troops at this moment', Lt Gen Parnaik maintained. Replying to another question, the Army Commander said, 'I will not comment anything about cut in para-military forces or police in J&K as it was not in his domain. If they feel like going for the cut, they can. Being Army Commander, I can only say any thing about the Army troops', he added. While referring to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Jammu and Kashmir, Lt Gen Parnaik said Army was working under pressing and adverse situation in Jammu and Kashmir. For performing under such difficult situation, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act was very essential. It gives protection to the troops while operating in the disturbed areas. Moreover, a committee has been constituted by the Union Government to go for assessment and give its findings. I hope it will look into all the aspects before giving its report. In response to another question regarding recent remarks of Chief Minister that in some areas- districts where situation has improved, the AFSPA should be withdrawn, Lt Gen Parnaik reminded that Army chief has already cleared the stand of the Army on the AFSPA. 'There should not be any confusion regarding our stand. They may have their own perception regarding situation. I think there is need to discuss the issue thoroughly before going for any such decision.' When asked about any possible law and order situation in the wake of hoisting tri-colour at Lal Chowk and the role of Army in it, the Northern Army Commander said hoisting National Flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar and Law and Order issue was purely state subject. Army has no role to play. It is to be seen by the State Government, local administration and the police. And in case of any violence or kind of worst law and order problem, if Army help is sought by the civil administration, the troops will move out to restore peace and order, Gen Parnaik added. While denying the reports regarding intrusion by Chinese troops in Ladakh, Northern Army Commander who took the review of situation along the borders (LAC) with China in Ladakh couple of days back, claimed that Line of Actual Control (border) with China and Tibet is not properly defined. There is no question of any intrusion of Chinese troops any where in Ladakh. 'It is trans-aggression and not intrusion. Some times our troops move that side and sometimes they move into this side. This problem is being faced since long by both the sides and border is not demarcated. Some times, if any dispute arises, troops from both the sides hold flag meetings and resolve the matter. Similar problem may also be faced by the ITBP men as well, he maintained. Earlier, addressing officers and jawans, the Lt Gen Parnaik stressed the need of operational preparedness of the troops. He said that restoration of peace, helping civil administration and police in maintaining peace and order will be his priority besides going tough on the terrorists and soft while dealing with the civilian population. The Army Commander asked the troops to remain alert and ready for any challenge and provide full cooperation to the police and paramilitary forces while launching joint operations. He said maintaining 'zero casuality' level should be the priority of the forces while engaged in operation. He at the same time greeted the troops and congratulated to those who were honoured with medals on the Army Day. Paying tributes to the officers and jawans to sacrifice their lives in operations here, he hoped that peace would be restored in the troubled State shortly.