Sino-Indian tensions have not affected the situation on the Pakistan front
THE WEEK|August 09, 2020
Sino-Indian tensions have not affected the situation on the Pakistan front
LIEUTENANT GENERAL:B.S. Raju, who heads the Army’s Srinagar-based Chinar Corps (XV Corps), has been successful in tackling the twin challenges of infiltration operations along the Line of Control (LoC) and counterterror operations in the hinterlands. In an exclusive interview with THE WEEK, the commander discussed the impact of Covid-19 on operations in the valley, the improvement in the security situation in south Kashmir and whether Pakistan is trying to take advantage of Sino-Indian tensions.
TARIQ BHAT

Excerpts:

Q/ Do give us a sense of the current security situation against the backdrop of last August’s legislative action [revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and turning it into a Union territory] and the threat of Covid-19?

A/ The internal situation in Kashmir is stable but sensitive. Maintaining peace has been the prime goal of all government agencies. The prevention of violence in the post-legislative action (situation) has been the cornerstone of our security strategy. Adversary’s principal strategy is to instigate violence and cause the loss of Kashmiri's life and property, which starts a cycle of violence. Our strategy is to carry out most operations based on specific intelligence and in a manner ensuring minimum use of force and taking all steps to avoid collateral damage. Precautionary and preemptive measures for the safety and security of the people have been instrumental in saving lives. The recent spurt in civilian killings is a repeat of the terror activities that happened last September, and is indicative of the desperation of terrorist controllers. They are resorting to hitting soft targets among the Kashmiri population. We are working towards neutralising this threat, too.

Covid-19 is a challenge for common citizens and soldiers alike. The Army has been involved in the dissemination of information about COVID precautions, distribution of sanitisation supplies and relief material. We have a detailed protocol of quarantine and testing of personnel coming after leave. During operations, all precautions are taken as per the recommended protocol. However, if things get active on the LoC, we are ready for all contingencies.

Q/ There has been a sharp decline in stone-pelting incidents during anti-militancy operations.

A/ The principal strategy of Pakistani handlers and their proxies has been to instigate violence and protests that can lead to the deaths of civilians. Pakistan has been using a variety of means to instigate violent protests including stone-pelting, using money and a network of radicalized over ground workers (OGW). Concerted police action to cut of hawala and drug channels has choked funding for such anti-national activities. Good intelligence and policing has ensured the identification and booking of OGWs. The civil society is actively contributing to control these violent activities. The recent success in kinetic operations to kill terrorists, with a focus on the terror leadership, has also played a role.

Q/ Is south Kashmir free of militancy now as claimed by the police? Will the focus now shift to the north, where a mix of local and foreign militants are mounting attacks?

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August 09, 2020