Terror incidents reduce, huge pressure on ultras: Army chief

TNN Bureau. Updated: 2/21/2020 10:55:53 AM Front Page

‘Exclusive theatre command for J&K at ideation stage’

JAMMU: Asserting that Army is maintaining huge pressure on terror groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir, Army Chief General M M Naravane on Thursday said that the terror incidents in Valley have seen a downturn.
The Chief of Army Staff also said that an exclusive theatre command for Jammu and Kashmir is at an "ideation stage" and there will be detailed discussions before anything is finalised.
Speaking on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Gen Naravane said terror incidents have seen a downturn.
“Army is maintaining huge pressure on terror groups. There is a decrease in terror incident,” he said.
Twenty-three terrorists have been eliminated in various encounters in Jammu and Kashmir in this year.
While 19 militants have been killed in eight operations in Kashmir, four were killed in two operations in the Jammu region since January 1.
Besides, the security agencies have also arrested 55 overground workers and terrorists associates who were involved in grenade throwing incidents or facilitating the terrorists in the valley.
“There is an external dimension to the decrease in cross-border terrorism,” the Army chief said, in oblique reference to the ongoing Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary.
“Pakistan may have to rethink strategy as even China realised they cannot back their all-weather friend all the time,” the Army chief said on the FATF plenary.
A sub-group of the global terror financing watchdog FATF on Tuesday recommended continuation of Pakistan in the 'Grey List' for its failure to check terror funding.
When asked on the health condition of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the army chief only said security forces are geared up to take care of any situation.
The chief also said that an exclusive theatre command for Jammu and Kashmir is at an "ideation stage" and there will be detailed discussions before anything is finalised.
His remarks come days after Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat said there are plans to have a separate theatre command for Jammu and Kashmir which will include the IB (International Boundary) portion.
"It (theatre command for J&K) is at the ideation stage. The broad contours have not been finalised. There will be detailed discussions before anything is finalised. We must make a roadmap," Gen Naravane told a select group of reporters.
Rolling out big ticket military reforms, Gen Rawat on Monday had said India would have two to five theatre commands to deal with future security challenges along the western and northern borders and the first one is expected to be operational by 2022.
Gen Rawat had said security challenges in Jammu and Kashmir will be handled by a dedicated theatre command in a major revamp of existing structures.
Meanwhile, the Chief said a roadmap has been prepared to implement the Supreme Court's judgement to grant permanent commission to women officers, asserting that the force does not discriminate against any soldier.
The Supreme Court on Monday had directed that women officers in the Army be granted permanent commission and command postings.
"We have made a roadmap. We will send letters to all women officers asking whether they will prefer permanent commissioning," Gen Naravane said.
"Indian Army does not discriminate (against) any soldier based on religion, caste, creed, or even gender. The outlook of the Indian Army has been throughout like this and that is why we started inducting women officers as early as in 1993," he said.
Indian Army has taken the initiative to induct women in rank and file, and the first batch of 100 women soldiers is undergoing training at Corps of Military Police Centre and School, he said.
"The Supreme Court's decision is a welcome one as it brings out a sense of clarity and purpose to gainfully employ officers for better efficiency of the organisation. I must assure that everybody in the Indian Army including women officers will be given equal opportunity to contribute to the nation as also progress in their careers," he said hailing the verdict as enabling.

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