Army Chief’s Kashmir visit significant
by Jaibans Singh on 08 Jun 2021 2 Comments

The Indian Army Chief, General MM Naravane, visited Kashmir over two days on June 2-3, 2021, which coincided with 100 days of ceasefire between India and Pakistan. The significance of the visit can be gauged from the prevailing relations between India and Pakistan.


This is the time of year when fundamentalist forces of Pakistan, with complete support of the Pakistan Army and approval of the political set-up, considerably step-up terrorist infiltration attempts in Kashmir. This is normally done under the cover of artillery and small arm fire which means violation of the ceasefire. Now that Pakistan is compelled by international pressure to maintain ceasefire, it is facing difficulty in carrying out infiltration. The militant organisations are naturally very unhappy with the situation.


In recent times, Pakistan’s political leadership led by Prime Minister Imran Khan has considerably increased its diatribes against India. They are insisting upon initiation of talks with India only after reversal of the August 2019 constitutional amendments made in the status of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan knows that the constitutional decision will never be reverted; nor does it have any locus standi to insist upon the same as it is the internal matter of a sovereign nation. Islamabad is making this demand simply to ward off the insistence of many countries, including many important Islamic nations, that it should mend fences with India through negotiations. Pakistan has not given up its nefarious design to once again ignite terrorism and violence in Kashmir should an opportunity present itself.


This coincided with China increasing its intrusive activities in eastern Ladakh in 2020, leading to the historic face-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Galwan where the PLA suffered great casualties and humiliation. As Pakistan is virtually a colony of China, there is every chance of the latter using Pakistan as a proxy to create problems for India along the line of control.


This explains the recent visit of the Army Chief to Kashmir. On the first day, he was briefed by senior commanders including Army Commander Northern Command, Lt. Gen. Y.K Joshi, and Corps Commander of Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt. Gen. D.P. Pandey, and others. The next day he visited formations on ground along the LOC and in the hinterland. Commanders of formations along the LOC briefed him about the existing security situation and measures instituted to foil infiltration by terrorists from Pakistan. He also interacted with the troops and complemented them for their high morale and high state of operational preparedness. He urged them to remain prepared to meet any emerging security challenge effectively.


General Naravane also interacted with the media, within the limits established by the COVID protocol. Giving his security assessment, he said that we have reached a situation where peace and tranquilly now prevails after a long time. The parameters with which normalcy is measured have shown great improvement; there have been very few terrorist initiated attacks and hardly any cases of IED attacks. Referring to the marked reduction in activities like stone pelting, lock outs etc., he said this reduction is an indicator of the aspiration of the Awaam (people) to ensure peace.


General Naravane urged the people of Kashmir to “Embrace the Future.” “Only if we have peace and tranquilly will there be development, only if there is development will everybody prosper, therefore, the youth should shun the path of violence. They should see outside how the world has moved on, how India has moved on and therefore embrace the future. The world over the future lies in shunning violence. If you do that you will hasten the ushering of a new era of development,” he said.


He shared the good news that the Army was fully prepared to facilitate the Shri Amarnath Yatra: “We are from our side ready for the conduct of the Yatra, the decision of course lies with the civil administration.”


General Naravane was candid in his assessment of the existing situation between India and Pakistan. He termed the ceasefire agreement between the two sides a major improvement in the security situation along the LOC, but added that even though Pakistan has continued to observe ceasefire, it is not desisting from attempts to infiltrate terrorists. He stated that India has no reason to believe that terror infrastructure in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Jammu Kashmir (POJK) has been dismantled.


Terrorist organisations like JeM, LeT, Al Badr etc., continue to maintain a presence of their terrorist cadre in POJK, waiting for the slightest opportunity to infiltrate in large numbers. It is learnt that the intelligence inputs provided to the Army chief has been validated by the troops on ground, and this prompted him to make a strong statement on the matter.


General Naravane acknowledged that the situation between India and Pakistan cannot change overnight due to decades of mistrust. But he opined that if Pakistan, along with observance of ceasefire also desists from attempts to push terrorists across the border, then trust will increase “incrementally.” He thus put the onus of maintaining peace with India squarely on Pakistan’s shoulders.


The visit indicates India’s preparedness for any summer adventure by Islamabad, and conveys the same to Pakistan with diplomatic finesse.


(Jaibans Singh is an analyst and columnist)

User Comments Post a Comment

Back to Top