‘Indian Army to act or react as political leadership wants’

January 31st, 2009 - 7:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Jan 31 (IANS) Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor Saturday said the military was fully prepared to act or react in the manner the country’s political leadership wanted it to in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.”As far as the military is concerned, it acts or reacts in a manner the country’s political leadership wants it to,” Kapoor, who is on a visit here, told media persons at the high security Badami Bagh headquarters of the army’s 15 Corps.

Pointing out that post the Mumbai attacks there had been extra movement of troops on the Pakistan side as tensions between the two countries ran high, he added: “These tensions had, however, come down now”.

At the same time, the terror infrastructure “is very much in existence and continuing in Pakistan”.

Kapoor said as the snows start melting and the high Himalayan passes reopen, the possibility of infiltration from across the border cannot be ruled out.

“The security forces are taking all possible precautions to check infiltration through a three-tier mechanism,” he maintained.

He said 700-800 guerrillas, 40-45 percent of them foreigners, were still active in the state but the anti-militancy efforts of the security forces had yielded appreciable results.

The high voter turnout in the November-December 2008 Kashmir assembly elections, where nearly 61 percent voters - higher than the national average - came out to exercise their franchise was proof of the improved ground situation in the state.

Asked about the timeframe for the army to return to the barracks in Kashmir, Kapoor said: “The military is here to perform a job and with a purpose. Once the situation is peaceful, we would be more than happy to go back to the barracks.”

Replying to another question about the compensation for the lands and buildings under the army’s occupation here, he said of the 765 such cases, 748 have already been settled.

On the Malegaon blasts, he said the army was fully ready to cooperate with the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in its investigations. “Army’s courts of inquiry do not excuse anyone once proven guilty of rights violations (or other crimes),” he added.

The Maharashtra ATS has charged a serving army officer, Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit, and two retired officers, among others, for the September 29 Malegaon blasts that claimed six lives.

Kapoor also visited some forward areas along the Line of Control in the Valley Saturday.

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