Focus of infiltration now largely Pir Panjal, Nepal: Army Commander

'Kashmir situation is better, nothing to worry'
Army soldiers patrol on a snow-covered area near the LoC, in Poonch. [Representational Image]
Army soldiers patrol on a snow-covered area near the LoC, in Poonch. [Representational Image]File: ANI

Srinagar: Stating that Kashmir situation is better, a top Army commander on Saturday said that focus of infiltration has now shifted to south of Pir Panjal and even some infiltrators may have trickled in via Nepal.

“The infiltration does not take place only through the Valley. I am not saying that we have put in place a system which ensures zero infiltration. Yes, there is a possibility of infiltration taking place here, but in the recent years, the way we have made the fence stronger, the way the deployment has been made and the surveillance equipments there, the success rate of infiltration has gone down,” one of top Army commanders told a selected group journalists during an informal interaction here.

“As a result, what happens is that when there is pressure on and one side, they try the other sides, the alternate routes.”

“They (infiltrators) are now trying the Rajouri-Poonch routes, the areas of south of Pir Panjal. The infiltration here (in Kashmir valley) has gone down compared to other routes,” he said. “The focus of infiltration has largely now shifted to south of Pir Panjal and in fact, there are inputs that some people may have also trickled in via Nepal.” Asked whether there has been any successful infiltration in Kashmir, he said, “so far on record, negative”.

“Till the end of May, everything has been taken care of,” he said. “There was a particular group which had come and you are aware that it got eliminated at Bandipora and Sopore.”

KASHMIR SITUATION:

About the prevailing situation in Kashmir, the senior Army General said that he thinks it is a sensitive phase, but at the same time, many things are under control. “Only killing the terrorists will not make it go away. There are other things which have to go along the kinetic operations and on which we have to work,” he said. “But, the overall situation is very much under control.”

About the recent target killings, he said “when a person comes under pressure and is pushed to the wall, when he feels that he is losing the control, then he takes up such things”. “There are a few aspects as to why they are happening,” he said. “Either it is to provoke the security forces, or to bring a fear factor among the people that their writ still runs, or to soft targets.”

He said that protecting every individual, or providing security round the clock was not possible. “By targeting soft targets, especially Kashmiri Pandits, you see the impact, the entire country gets shaken up, the Centre, the state administration gets shaken up,” he said. “They also know, in terms of their capacity, which is the weakest link as they are working in the society, roaming around in the society and it is easy to target them.”

TERRORIST NUMBERS:

“This is the lowest figure that we have had in the last few years at all levels. The numbers will keep on changing, but we have the kinetic domination on the ground,” he said. “We have eliminated more than 50 in the last 40-42 days. Their overall lifespan is negligible, but, yes, it remains a curse for the society. It remains a challenge and a security hazard. So, that is what is working on.”

The top Army Commander said that be it 100 or 150, these numbers will continue till the time the people do not understand the futility of what is happening, till the people do not understand what is right and what is wrong. “Till there is the support base, they will remain, but once they shun them out, then they will have no ways to go, and you will automatically find this entire concept getting eliminated or the numbers coming down.”

FATF

Terming the situation in the neighbouring country “not so good”, the top Army Commander said that Pakistan has not yet fully come out of FATF as there is a team yet to come to ascertain things on ground.

“If after coming out of it, it again gets involved in such activity, it has the propensity to be pulled back into the grey zone, which will be a big dictating factor,” he said.

“I think having gone into the ceasefire understanding, and seeing what the country is going through at this point in time, there is a lot of turbulence, turmoil, and the economic conditions do not give them this idea to indulge once again.”

He further said: “ So, I do not think any such state-sponsored activity will take place, but it can happen at the local level with the ISI’s help especially with a focus on developing leadership as there is none here,” he said, adding that there are about 500 to 700 people at the 11 training camps at Manshera, Kotli and Muzaffarabad across the LC. At the launchpads. “There are about 150 people opposite the valley ready to infiltrate.”

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