Rajnath for making peace a permanent feature in J&K

Hailing the heads of various security agencies for tackling militancy successfully and curbing recruitment of local youth into militancy, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Monday directed them to “keep up the good work so that peace becomes a permanent feature in J&K”.

Singh also expressed his satisfaction over the security plan to be put in place for the upcoming Amarnath yatra starting July 1.

Singh, who was accompanied by the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, arrived in Kashmir in the morning and straightaway went to Siachen, the world’s highest battleground.

Today’s visit was the first by Singh as Defence Minister of the new Union cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that was sworn in recently.

“After interacting with soldiers and army officers at Siachen, the Defence Minister visited forward posts to raise the morale of the soldiers deployed to protect the borders,” a source in the defence ministry said.

In the afternoon, Singh reached the army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps headquarters where he chaired a high-level security review meet.

Officials’ privy to the meeting told Greater Kashmir that Singh was given a power-point presentation on prevailing situation in Kashmir that entailed details of anti-militancy operations, status of infiltration along the LoC and International Border, local militant recruitment and overall security scenario in the state.

“Singh was also given a detailed presentation on the security plan formulated by various security agencies for the yatra,” he said.

A senior security official told Greater Kashmir that Singh expressed his satisfaction over a series of anti-militancy operations launched by security forces since 2018 and the “great success achieved since January this year on the militancy front.”

“Singh was told that about 105 militants were killed this year so far and nearly 20 militants were killed every month since January. He was also told that the efforts of security forces were aimed at ensuring zero collateral damage during anti-militancy operations,” said the official.

He was told that militants have made no major infiltration attempt along the LoC so far this year. The official said the Defence Minister was also told about the declining graph of local militant recruitment this year and the efforts of security forces to curb the recruitment.

“He was told that the army’s appeal to mothers of militants to ask their sons to give up arms was bearing fruit as many youth shunned violence and returned to their families in the recent past,” the official said.

Singh was also briefed about the multi-pronged strategy kept in place by the police, the CRPF and the army for the smooth yatra, the source said.

“The Defence Minister expressed his satisfaction over the preparations for the incident free pilgrimage and felicitated security agencies for maintaining close synergy and coordination,” he added.

In a statement issued here, Defence Spokesman in Srinagar Colonel Rajesh Kalia said that Defence Minister visited Kashmir to review the prevailing security situation.

“In Srinagar, the Defence Minister and the Army Chief were received by northern army commander Lieutenant General Ranbhir Singh and GoC 15 Corps Lieutenant General KJS Dhillon,” the spokesman said.

He said the Defence Minister was briefed in detail about the situation along the LoC, the hinterland and the successful anti-militancy operations.

“He was also apprised of great synergy and the close coordination among all government agencies towards bringing back normalcy in the region and about the preparations for the smooth conduct of upcoming Amarnath yatra,” the defence spokesman said.

“The Defence Minister urged all to continue the good work they were doing and ensure safety of innocent people while dealing firmly with inimical elements. He also urged the commanders to maintain strict vigil along the LoC and remain prepared to give a befitting reply to any misadventure from across,” he added.