February 2016 News

Pak's Talk Of Demilitarising Siachen Unwarranted: Army

12 February 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Udhampur: Terming Pakistan's suggestion of mutual demilitarisation of Siachen following the death of 10 Indian soldiers in an avalanche on February 3 as 'unwarranted', Northern Command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda today said he didn't see any reason at all to connect the tragic incident to any withdrawal of troops from the glacier. Responding to media queries here after an investiture ceremony, he further said, 'We are committed to defending our borders and we will continue to do so. That's absolutely clear to us and there is absolutely no link.' General Hooda, however, said talks had been going on between India and Pakistan but there were some basic conditions that had to be met before any withdrawal could be spoken about. 'Some of the basic conditions are not agreeable to Pakistan and therefore an agreement has not taken place. But for anybody to link the Siachen tragedy to withdrawal is absolutely unwarranted and incorrect,' he said. He said India's stand was very clear on Siachen. 'If withdrawal has to take place then actual positions on the ground that has our posts should be authenticated first and should be agreeable to both sides,' he said, adding that this first step was not agreeable to Pakistan and, therefore, an agreement has not taken place. Pakistan has for long been suggesting that India should demilitarise Siachen where it holds strategic heights since 1984 when New Delhi launched 'Operation Meghdoot' to pre-empt Islamabad's move of occupying the 74-km glacier. On Kashmiri youth joining militancy, Lt General Hooda said the Army would do everything possible for rehabilitation of Kashmiri militants provided they surrender and join the mainstream. 'From the perspective of security parameters, infiltration is down, actually to one-third of what it was two years ago. A number of top terrorist leaders got killed but we need to view it in the larger perspective. For instance, recruitment is an area of concern for us,' he said. 'It is not good that young recruits, who are supposed to be the future of the state and leaders of tomorrow, are actually joining militancy. Frankly, their life span is six months to one year from the day they join. So, it's a tragedy and I think we all need to look at it,' he said. 'Militants must return to society' Northern Command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda on Friday expressed serious concern over the disturbing trend of young educated Kashmiri youth going astray and turning into gun-wielding militants. He said the Army would do everything possible for rehabilitation of Kashmiri militants provided they surrender and join the mainstream. 'Yes, surrender and come back to society, I am saying this openly today. Those, who have not committed heinous crimes, we will help them in their rehabilitation. We will help them in any respect but our appeal to them is that they should come back and join society.' said Lt General Hooda.

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