Army chief, 6 top Army Comdrs review situation along Pak, China borders

Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag being received by Northern Command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda on Wednesday.
Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag being received by Northern Command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda on Wednesday.

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Apr 15: Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag today called upon the top Army Commanders to remain in the state of high operational preparedness to meet challenges on the borders and internal areas from the militants, who continued to make efforts to disturb peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
Presiding over the three hours long meeting of top Army Commanders of Udhampur based Northern Command, Chandigarh headquartered Western Command and Shimla stationed Army Training Command apart from General Officers Commanding (GOCs) of all three Corps of Jammu and Kashmir this afternoon, Gen Suhag lauded performance of the troops and hoped they would continue to maintain high state of alert in Jammu and Kashmir to thwart evil designs of the militants.
Several important issues like situation along China borders in Ladakh and Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) with Pakistan, summer strategy to deal with militants when snow will melt on higher reaches, building infrastructure like construction of roads along China and Pakistan borders  right up to Zero Line and securing land for firing ranges figured in the meeting.
The high level meeting was attended by Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, Northern Command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda, Western Command chief Lt Gen KJ Singh, GOC-in-C Army Training Command, Shimla Lt Gen Sanjeev Madhok, GOC Nagrota based 16 Corps Lt Gen KH Singh, GOC Srinagar based 15 Corps Lt Gen Subrata Saha and GOC Leh based 14 Corps Lt Gen BS Negi.
The Army chief, who reached the Northern Command Headquarters in Udhampur this morning, will return to New Delhi tomorrow morning after getting the feedback on all aspects of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and would brief Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar later.
The meeting of the Army chief with top Army Commanders assumed significance as it came just four days after four top Army Commanders including Lt Gen Hooda and all three GOCs of 14, 15 and 16 Corps had dinner meeting with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed along with Director General of Police (DGP) K Rajendra. Though the meeting was described as `social gathering’, there had been reports that partial withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some parts of Jammu and Kashmir had figured in the meeting.
Sources said the Army chief took feedback from top Army Commanders on the situation prevailing along China border in Eastern Ladakh, LoC and IB with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir and steps required to meet any challenges on the borders.
While no major incursion has been reported along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the Army chief was briefed by the Commanders about presence of the large number of militants camping along LoC and IB on Pakistan side awaiting opportunities to sneak into this side from across.
“The internal security situation including number of the militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir and steps taken to thwart their designs to disturb tourist season in summer and annual Amarnath ji pilgrimage starting July 2 also figured prominently in the meeting,” sources said, adding “the rear area security was also becoming cause of concern for the troops in view of militant attacks on Army and police camps in Samba and Kathua districts on March 20 and 21”.
The Army Commanders also deliberated on the State Government seeking views on partial withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some peaceful areas of the State.
Western Army Commander Lt Gen KJ Singh reportedly briefed the Army chief about security scenario in the areas under control of his Command including Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts and steps required to plug infiltration routes to prevent Samba and Kathua like attacks.
The Army chief is reported to have been briefed about the problems faced by the Army due to shortage of land for firing ranges especially after vacation of Tosa Maidaan and Kaleeth Army firing ranges, whose lease was not extended by the previous National Conference-Congress coalition Government.
Gen Suhag is reported to have asked the Army Commanders to take up the issue at Civil-Military Liaison Conference, which is scheduled to be convened shortly.
The March 12 Unified Headquarters meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed here had decided that the Civil-Military Liaison Conference will take up the issue of land for the firing ranges.
According to sources, the Disaster Management co-ordination between Army and civil administration also figured in the meeting. Army had played important role in September 2014 floods in the State and was also put on alert during last month’s floods.
Sources said the Defence Minister would brief the Prime Minister about situation prevailing along the China frontiers as Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit China next month.
According to an official handout, Northern Command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda briefed the Army chief on overall security situation in the Command and relief operations undertaken by the Army for the people during recent heavy rains and snowfall in the Valley.
The Army chief inter-acted with other senior Commanders present at the Headquarters.
He addressed the commended all ranks for the recent operational successes and the high state of operational preparedness. He also complimented the officers and men of the Dhruva Command for extending humanitarian assistance to the people.


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