Troop reduction in Kashmir after assessing summer trends: Army chief

June 12th, 2009 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Reducing troops in Jammu and Kashmir could be considered only after assessing “infiltration trends” in the summer months and after the pilgrimage to Amarnath in the valley ended, Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor said here Friday while asserting that infiltration from across the border was likely to increase.
“The chances of infiltration going up is very much there because a number of (terrorist) camps are there on the other side of the border,” Kapoor told reporters here.

Discussing the issue of troops reduction, he added: “We have to see the infiltration trends during this summer and only after the Amarnath Yatra would this question (of troops reduction) be addressed.”

The army, he said, had been called into Jammu and Kashmir “because things were bad”.

“As the situation improves gradually and when the political authority feels that the army should be called back we would (withdraw).”

Earlier in the day, union Home Minister P. Chidambaram spoke of restricting the role of central forces in maintaining law and order in Jammu and Kashmir and said the primary responsibility would rest with the state police.

“It is our intention to redraw the lines of responsibility. The army holds the responsibility for conventional defence at the borders and for fighting infiltration. It is quite clear that the lines are to be redrawn. It will take some time, but the primary responsibility for maintaining law and order in the state would rest with the police,” Chidambaram said at a press conference in Srinagar.

“We recognise that there are unwanted elements behind terrorism. They are trying to take advantage of the situation. Whenever there are allegations on the security forces we investigate and according to the dos and don’ts we take action,” Kapoor said in a reference to the volatile situation in the state following the rape and murder of two women in the valley’s Shopian town allegedly by paramilitary troopers.

He ruled out any additional deployment of troops in the northeast in the immediate future.

“We are carrying on infrastructure improvement on our side to ensure that development takes place in those areas and that we are able to beat the adversaries… Troops are there. We have no plans for additional troops deployment immediately.”

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