Revoking AFSPA will not help Kashmir: Army Chief

NEW DELHI (TIP): Army Chief General Bikram Singh warned against revoking or diluting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir and said he was positive that recent talks with Pakistan and China would ensure peace along the border. “There are inputs of a possible terrorist spillover into the Valley after the US drawdown in Afghanistan.We need to look at developments in Afghanistan in 2014 before we can look at perhaps tampering with or diluting the Disturbed Areas Act,” the General said while addressing the media ahead of the Army Day (Jan 15).

It would be prudent to wait and watch for a while before taking a call on AFSPA, he said. On recent talks between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan, the Army Chief said: “The meeting was very positive. The Indian side has taken up with Pakistan all issues pertaining to the peace and tranquility at the Line of Control (LoC).” “The talks are a step in right direction and will help in maintaining the ceasefire agreement. Peace is conducive for development and helps in addressing aspirations of people along the LoC. He, however, warned any infiltration attempt from across the border would elicit a strong response.

“We will give a befitting reply if an infiltration attempt is made,” the General said. The Army Chief said the idea is not to escalate tension along the LoC but to give a professional response. “If rules are broken (by Pakistan), we cannot follow rules… then rules will be broken”, he said. To a query whether the Army gave an adequate response to Pakistan following last year’s gruesome beheadings or not, the General said: “This assertion that the Army has not taken action is not correct”. “Let me assure you that action has been taken.

I invite the attention to a Geo TV (Pakistan news channel) report on December 23 which talked about their officer and nine jawans being killed and over 12 wounded. This has happened due to firing of your soldiers on the ground. They have done their bit,” the Army Chief told reporters. He pinned hopes on the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) signed in October 2013 for maintaining peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Asked about India’s response to frequent incursions by Chinese troops in Ladakh, the General said: “We have increased patrolling in disputed areas. There has been an improvement in the situation along the LAC. Attempts are on to ensure that the agreements are adhered to.”


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