On possibly his last visit to J&K, Army chief calls for ‘aggression’

TNN Bureau. Updated: 12/1/2019 12:28:13 PM Front Page

Reviews security situation at northern command HQ

JAMMU: Amid reports of Pakistan-based terror outfits attempting to reactivate Balakot terrorist camp and the continuous breach of truce along the Line of Control and Ineternational Border by Pakistan, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat arrived in Jammu on Saturday and asked his men to be alert and aggressive against any inimical design of the enemy.
Gen Rawat, who is set to retire as the Chief of Army Staff, on December 31, arrived on possibly his last visit to the union territory and also reviewed security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
His visit comes amid the spurt in violence by militants in Kashmir, even as the over one hundred terrorists have infiltrated into the Indian Territory in past 4 months, not to forget the almost daily violation of ceasefire by Pakistan along the LoC and IB.
On his visit to the Army’s Northern Command headquarters at Udhampur, General Rawat urged troops to be alert against any inimical design of the enemy and adopt an aggressive approach.
"The Chief of Army Staff interacted with the troops and conveyed his appreciation to the soldiers for their steadfastness and high morale, which were reflective of their unwavering commitment and selfless dedication to the nation," a defence spokesperson said.
He said the Army chief "urged the troops to be alert against any inimical design of the enemy and be aggressive in their approach".
Gen Rawat also lauded "the synergy and cooperation" between the northern command, Air Force, para military forces, civil administration and the central police organizations operating in the region, the spokesperson said.
He said the general exhorted all ranks to continue carrying out their task in a professional manner for creating a secure and peaceful environment for the 'Awaam' (people) of Jammu and Kashmir.
General Rawat’s visit assumes significance as the Centre is set to announce the name of his successor in less than two weeks from now and that practically makes this his last visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
If sources are to be believed, three names have been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for final selection of new Chief of Army Staff including that of Vice Chief, Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane, Northern Army Commander, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and Southern Army Commander, Lt Gen Satinder Kumar Saini.
Rawat’s visit also comes amid reports of attempts being made by Pakistan-based terror outfits to reactivate its camp at Balakot, which trains and intoxicates many terrorists to be used in militancy in Kashmir.
The fighters of the Indian Air Force had bombed and destroyed the terror camp at Balakot on February 26 after terrorists attacked a convoy of CRPF vehicles, killing 40 jawans on February 14.
Meanwhile, as the Army chief was reviewing security situation in udhampur, not very far away, the Pakistan army again targeted forward posts and villages along the Line of Control Poonch district, violating the ceasefire for the second consecutive day.
"Pakistan initiated the unprovoked ceasefire violation with small arms firing and mortar shelling at about 3.30 pm along the LoC in Shahpur and Kirni sectors of Poonch," a defence spokesperson said.
"The Indian army is retaliating befittingly to silence Pakistani guns," the spokesperson said, adding the cross-border firing between the two sides was on when the reports came in last.
He said there was no report of any casualty in the firing and shelling by Pakistan.
Pakistan resorted to small arms firing and mortar shelling on Friday too on forward areas along the LoC in nearby Balakote sector, triggering "effective retaliation" by India, which continued from 8.30 pm to 9.15 pm.
There has also been a spurt in terror activities in Kashmir, where Army plays an important role along with other security agencies.
Till November 17, as many as 594 terror incidents have taken place this year in J&K in which 37 civilians and 79 security personnel were killed.
In the first ten months of this year, there have been 171 infiltration attempts from across the border of which 114 were successful. Around 140 terrorists are feared to have infiltrated in these bids.
"The major challenges faced by our troops along the Jammu border throughout the year include armed infiltration of terrorists, tunnelling, sniping and of course the drones though no such activity was reported here till date," Inspector General of BSF, Jammu frontier, N S Jamwal recently said.
He said that with the onset of winter as visibility drops due to foggy conditions and snowfall in mountainous areas, all necessary measures have been taken this year too to scuttle any attempts to push terrorists and arms into the Union Territory.
"We are fully prepared for any challenge. There is an increase in ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and International Border particularly in Kathua district of Jammu. Such things do not make any impact as our troops are prepared for winter and respond befittingly," Jamwal had said last week.
"The terrorists are waiting for an opportunity to sneak into this side. We too are waiting to take action whenever they try to infiltrate. You stay relaxed," the officer had said.

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