Read the lips of Commander, Northern Command
by Jaibans Singh on 24 Oct 2018 3 Comments

Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Indian Army, made some significant observations on the politico-strategic situation obtaining in Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Kashmir Valley, on October 17, at the closing ceremony of the first Inter-Service Paragliding Accuracy Competition at Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. Asserting that the Indian Army and other security forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir are firmly in control of the situation, Singh made no bones about Pakistan’s continued efforts to infiltrate terrorists into the state.


“The situation is under control. However, the situation remains fragile because of the attempt by Pakistan to push infiltrators in Jammu and Kashmir. As per inputs available to us, there is no change in terrorist infrastructure across the Line of Control in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, and therefore, we keep having several reports of infiltration attempts by Pakistan trained terrorists,” he said.


The Army Commander’s statement is noteworthy as it comes in the wake of an open threat by the Pakistan Army, conveyed by none less than the chief of its media branch, that Pakistan would launch ten surgical strikes if India launches one. Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh dealt with the cowardly threat with the disdain it deserved, saying the Indian Army is prepared for any contingency and will exhibit its capabilities when required.


The General allayed fears being created by certain vested interests about the capability of the army to counter threats to the nation. “It doesn’t really matter what statements are made from which quarter, it is important for us to retain and refine our capabilities and be prepared for any contingencies at all times,” he said, adding that the Army continues to be a “potent, responsible and accountable instrument of national power”. It is in the context of Pakistan spending millions across the world to create an impression of the Indian Army being weakened due to equipment and budgetary constraints.


The Indian Army, along with the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the paramilitary forces, has been carrying out sustained and consistent counter-terrorist operations in Kashmir Valley, despite an attempt by inimical, anti-India forces to garner local support against the operations. Just some days ago, a terrorist, Manan Wani, and his accomplice were killed in a counter terrorist operation; he was an educated person who left a Ph.D. course in Aligarh Muslim University to take to terrorism in January this year.  His elimination was played up by enemy propagandist forces in the Kashmir valley by terming him a martyr and a “scholar militant.”


The objective was to create an impression that the so-called militant movement was finding support from the educated segment in Kashmir. On October 17, when the Army commander was interacting with the media, a gun battle between terrorists and security forces broke out in Fateh Kadal in downtown Srinagar; three terrorists, including a wanted Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander, were killed.


Against this backdrop, the media was naturally keen to get the Army Commander’s views on the subject. Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh candidly stated that the security forces had the situation well under control, and appealed to the youth to resist evil indoctrination by the enemy and engage their energies in productive purposes. “Our counter-infiltration grid at LoC, at various tiers of the grid up to the hinterland, is very effective and it is because of that we have been able to neutralise a large number of terrorists,” he said, giving a clear message to those pursuing the path of terrorism that they will not be allowed to execute their nefarious designs and that the forces will not allow the common man to feel insecure or intimidated.


Trying to reach out to youth like Manan Wani, he said, “The Army is fully cognisant of the ground realities; there is a lot of potential in the youth in Jammu and Kashmir and the army’s efforts are always towards harnessing these energies for the good of the state and the nation.” Assurances of the Army’s commitment towards the smooth conduct of Panchayat elections ensured the violence-free polls, which is being applauded far and wide.


Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh has been forthright and up front in his assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the manner in which the army, under his watch, intends to deal with the same. Those pursuing the path of terrorism will not be given any respite even as the forces will join hands with all initiatives directed towards weaning away the youth from being misled by foreign-sponsored propaganda.  So far as Pakistan is concerned, the Army will remain ever watchful to thwart any and every challenge and will give a befitting reply to the same.


Lt. Gen. Singh has clearly articulated the policy that his command will pursue in ensuring the safety of the citizens and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India in the frontier state of Jammu and Kashmir. Hopefully, those pursuing the path of violence and perpetrating turmoil in the region, from across the border and within, will read the lips of the Army Commander and shun their evil pursuits in favour of peace and tranquillity. Inability to do so will lead to shame and ignominy.


The author is a reputed columnist, analyst and speaker 

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