Army chief reviews security with Guv, GOC-in-C

Army chief reviews security with Guv, GOC-in-C

15 June 2012
The Daily Excelsior


Jammu: On his first visit to any State after assuming the charge of Chief of Army Staff a fortnight ago, Army chief Gen Bikram Singh today reviewed security scenario on the Line of Control (LoC) and other areas across the State with Governor NN Vohra and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Lt Gen KT Parnaik separately. After over two hour long meeting with Lt Gen Parnaik at Northern Command Headquarters in Udhampur, the Army chief left for Srinagar where he had an hour long inter-action with Mr Vohra to review security situation in the State. Lt Gen Parnaik and newly appointed GOC of Srinagar based 15 Corps Lt Gen Om Prakash were also present in the meeting. The COAS would meet Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tomorrow morning and had a tour of some forward areas before returning to New Delhi. He would pay another visit to the State after some time when he would tour all forward areas on the LoC in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. Official sources said Lt Gen Parnaik briefed the Army chief on all aspects of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with special reference to militancy in internal areas and activities of Pakistan Army on the LoC. Sources said Army was expected to take with the Ministry of Defence two days of continued unprovoked firing by Pakistan Army in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district in which an Army jawan was killed and three others were injured. Prior to this, a BSF jawan was seriously injured in the same sector. The issue of continued ceasefire violation by Pakistan Army on the LoC and Rangers on the International Border could figure in Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of which Defence Minister AK Antony was also a senior member. Sources said the Defence Ministry wanted to tackle the situation in a way that Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and proposed talks between India and Pakistan were not affected and, at the same time, ceasefire was maintained on the borders by both sides. Ceasefire had come into force in November 2002 and has been holding on since barring some violations by Pakistan Army to facilitate infiltration attempts. Two days continued firing had stopped at 9 pm at Krishna Ghati sector. Sources said Gen Bikram Singh and Lt Gen KT Parnaik had a very exhaustive review of activities of Pakistan Army on LoC and situation in other parts of the State. The Army chief expressed satisfaction with the fact that troops on the LoC have not allowed any infiltration attempt to succeed. The failure of pushing militants into this side was viewed as one of the reasons by the Pakistani troops to target Indian posts. Indian Army had given very controlled but effective response to silence Pakistani guns. The Army chief was reported to have stressed for maintaining strict surveillance to ensure that the infiltrators, who were camping across the LoC awaiting an opportunity to sneak into this side, didn’t succeed. Later, Gen Bikram Singh, Lt Gen Parnaik and Lt Gen Om Prakash met Governor NN Vohra in Srinagar this evening. The meeting lasted about an hour. This was first meeting of Gen Singh and Lt Gen Prakash, who had succeeded Lt Gen A S Hasnain, with the Governor. All had a detailed review of security scenario in the State. Security arrangement for upcoming annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath ji shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas from June 25 to August 2 figured in the meeting as the Governor also happened to be chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). Army would be manning heights of the holy cave shrine and provide other necessary assistance and infrastructure for smooth pilgrimage. Situation on the LoC across the Kashmir valley also came up for a high level review in the meeting. The Army chief would also meet Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tomorrow morning along with the GOC-in-C and GOC of 15 Corps. He would also be visiting some forward areas on the LoC in the Kashmir valley before flying back to New Delhi tomorrow. This is the first visit of Gen Bikram Singh to Jammu and Kashmir, or any State, after he assumed charge of the post on June 1 from Gen V K Singh. Though there was no official comment, sources said, the Army chief and the Northern Command chief also discussed implications of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). However, sources declined to comment on whether AFSPA surfaced during the Army chief’s meeting with the Governor or the GOC-in-C. It was, however, expected to figure definitely in the meeting between the Chief Minister and the Army chief tomorrow. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been demanding partial withdrawal of AFSPA from five peaceful districts of the State including Jammu, Srinagar, Budgam, Samba and Kathua. However, his demand had been strongly opposed by Gen Bikram Singh’s predecessor, Gen VK Singh and other Army commanders in Jammu and Kashmir. Defence Minister AK Antony had also opposed the demand. An official handout said 'the GOC-in-C apprised the Army chief about current security situation and operational preparedness in Northern Command as well as complex dynamics of the proxy war situation in the State’’. It said Mrs Bubbles Singh, wife of Gen Bikram Singh and president of Family Welfare Organisation (FWO) interacted with Mrs Anagha Parnaik, Regional president, FWO, Northern Command and was briefed on various welfare relation activities. She also interacted with other ladies of Northern Command and Veer Naris during his visit. A similar interaction with ladies of Chinar (Srinagar) Corps and Veer Naris is planned during her visit to Srinagar. General Bikram Singh had commanded a battalion, RR Sector, Division as well as a Corps in Northern Command during his career.