Step to boost anti-militancy ops in Valley
JAMMU, Sept 10: In a significant decision aimed at boosting the anti-militancy operations in Kashmir, the Army headquarters planned to shift the headquarter of its counter-terrorist force, the Rashtriya Rifles to Jammu and Kashmir from New Delhi as it would help the troops operate more freely and easily in the Valley to stamp out the militancy, a task which the force has already been performing very successfully.
The shifting of Rashtriya Rifles, which has considerable presence in Jammu and Kashmir, was part of the Army’s restructuring exercise, which has been set in motion with a view to adopt new strategies in different areas of operations including militancy in the Valley.
“The likely shifting of Rashtriya Rifles Headquarters to Jammu and Kashmir, most probably at Udhampur, where Northern Command headquarters are located, will ensure the troops’ better proximity to the operational site,” official sources told the Excelsior.
Lt Gen Sharawat is current Director General of Rashtriya Rifles and is headquartered at New Delhi while majority of troops of the Rashtriya Rifles are deployed in Jammu and Kashmir including the militancy-infested Valley where they were battling with the militants and have eliminated number of them in highly successful operations along with other security agencies.
The Army could co-locate the Director General Rashtriya Rifles with its Northern Command, which is headquartered in Udhampur and covers entire Jammu and Kashmir excepting three districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua, located along the International Border, which falls under the Western Command but where the Border Security Force (BSF) is deployed as front-line force.
Sources said top brass of the Army was of the view that the Director General of Rashtriya Rifles will be best suited at Udhampur-based Northern Command instead of New Delhi.
“There was a thinking that the DG Rashtriya Rifles will contribute to administration, logistical and weapon requirements of his troops more effectively by operating from Udhampur instead of New Delhi especially when majority of the Rashtriya Rifles troops were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir for counter-militancy operations.
In case of any eventuality, sources said, the Director General of Rashtriya Rifles can easily shift to site of encounter or other places from Udhampur instead of New Delhi to coordinate search and cordon operations and guide his troops depending on the prevailing situation.
“This becomes more important as security forces have intensified search and cordon operations against the militants all across Kashmir and eliminated about 160 militants this year, apart from 200 of last year,” sources pointed out.
They noted that even the Director General Assam Rifles is located in Shillong, as the force under him, Assam Rifles, is based in the North-East to fight the insurgency.
The measure, according to sources, was part of an ongoing Army study to restructure the headquarters in the national capital. It is aimed at reducing the administrative flab and ensuring that more officers are available for postings at frontline operational areas and for cost-cutting.
“The Army is likely to hold a review conference of the four studies next week. The studies will be discussed at the Army Commanders’ Conference in October, before being presented to the Defence Ministry, headed by Nirmala Sitharaman,” sources said.
It may be mentioned here that China’s People’s Liberation Army is undergoing the most comprehensive restructuring in its history. The reforms seek to improve the PLA’s ability to perform joint operations and combat effectiveness. These include enhancing its theatre commands and changing its core operational units from the division to the Brigade.
According to sources, the constant reviews of security plans were being undertaken by the Army Headquarters to boost its operational preparedness and intensify operations against the militants in the Kashmir valley to further reduce level of militancy and violence, apart from completely curbing the infiltration on the Line of Control (LoC) from Pakistan side.