Srinagar: The overall defence preparedness of the Indian Army has received a “huge impetus” in the 20 months since the ceasefire understanding between India and Pakistan, says Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen ADS Aujla, describing the situation at the LoC as very much under control.
However, whenever the opportunity comes, “attempts are being made to infiltrate” from the “other side” but the army is capable to foil such bids or give a befitting reply, said the commander of the Srinagar-based corps responsible for guarding the Line of Control (LoC) in the Kashmir Valley.
India and Pakistan had on February 25 last year released a joint statement announcing a ceasefire along the LoC following talks between their directors general of military operations. The two countries had earlier signed a ceasefire agreement in 2003 but it was repeatedly violated.
During an interaction held recently at the 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Corps, said, the situation is very much under control at the LoC or the hinterland.
“A lot of parameters are showing signs of normalcy. And, the challenge for us is to ensure that we are able to sustain this ceasefire and phase of normalcy that we are seeing on a daily basis,” Lt Gen Aujla said, adding that the “huge influx” of tourists this year is a “great positive” among these parameters.
Asked if the ceasefire understanding of 2021 has had any impact on operational preparedness of the army, the Corps commander said there have been “many positives” related to it as the period gave time to “upgrade our defences”.
“The overall defence preparedness of the Indian Army has got a huge kind of an impetus in these last 20 months that we have been observing the ceasefire agreement,” Lt Gen Aujla said.
“Not only has it enhanced our capabilities and capacity but many things, which otherwise, we would not be able to do by virtue of those fire engagements that used to take place on a regular basis along the LoC. Now we have been able to do,” he said
The readiness and defence preparedness is at a “very good level” and if any reason or opportunity comes where it is needed to be displayed, then a “very different impact” of it will be seen, the commander added.
Asked about the remarks made by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Gilgit-Baltistan during the Infantry Day celebrations on October 27 at the Srinagar airfield, he said, “The army is fully prepared, whenever such a decision is taken” and when the orders come, it will come to the Indian armed forces.
“We are refining our conventional capabilities, training being done and enhancing those capabilities. So, whenever it is required, there should be no looking back,” he said.
Asked how the army has evolved in the last 75 years in the context of changing nature of warfare, the Corps commander said from the 1947-48 to now, in these 75 years, the “capacities and the capabilities of the Indian Army have got upgraded multifold”.
Today, technology has been absorbed in the system and in the organisation in a “big way”, he added.
“It’s all getting integrated in a very seamless kind of manner. Where we were 75 years ago and where we are today, we are fully prepared to fight a very comprehensive, integrated battle which will unfold in the future by virtue of absorbing all the facets,” Lt Gen Aujla said.
The GOC of the Chinar Corps said the year has been “pretty good for the general environment of the Valley”.
This year, infiltration cases have been minimal, eight militants possibly infiltrated, three of them were eliminated. So it is the lowest in the last 32 years since the insurgency in the Valley, he said.
“We have seen a huge influx of tourists and a lot of developmental activities have taken place on the ground. In terms of terror action also, we have come down pretty heavily on them,” Lt Gen Aujla said.
As far as terrorist regimes are concerned, their entire leadership has been wiped out. And, things are looking much, much better, he said.
“But still a lot of ground needs to be covered. That is where all our efforts and resources will be aligned to. God willing, in times to come, we will see a much better situation unfolding as far as the Kashmir valley is concerned,” the Corps commander said.
On infiltration bids being made amid the ceasefire understanding, he said, a few days ago, “we foiled an infiltration bid in Tangadhar sector in north Kashmir ”.
“Efforts are on from their side so that terrorists can be let in as the opportunity comes. But we are capable that if any such incidents happen at the LoC or the hinterland then a befitting reply is given or bids are foiled. That is how this entire strategy is. It is not alone in the army, it is a synergetic kind of effort of every agency operating here whether it is the JK Police, administration or intelligence agencies,” Lt Gen Aujla said.
“In fact, I would not be wrong to say that even the ‘awam’, the people, has come out in a big way, in a very positive manner to support us in all our kinetic endeavours,” he asserted. PTI