Pakistan backing proxy war in Kashmir: Indian Army chief

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New Delhi: Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh Tuesday said Pakistan was supporting a proxy war against India in Jammu and Kashmir and the security challenges were growing due to the “active border”.

Addressing the annual press conference ahead of Army Day, Gen. Dalbir Singh said the border with China was peaceful and confidence-building measures have been effective.

He said the recent terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir showed that terrorist camps in Pakistan were intact.

“Pakistan is supporting a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir despite suffering casualties within their country. Recent strikes by terrorists reflect their desperation. It also indicates that the (terrorist) infrastructure or camps across the border are intact,” he said.

Answering a query, he said ceasefire violations by Pakistan have shifted towards the international border (IB) in the Jammu region from the Line of Control (LoC).

“The counter-insurgency grid is very strong on the Line of Control. Now the focus (has) shifted to the IB,” he said.

Infiltration attempts have either been foiled along the LoC or if the infiltrators have sneaked in, they have been in difficulty, he said.

Gen. Dalbir Singh said there were streams and rivulets along the IB which elements from across the border may try to use to infiltrate.

Answering another query, he said Indian military commanders had a free hand to retaliate to cross-border fire.

“Commanders have a freed hand to operate, to retaliate in a manner they think is adequate,” he said.

Gen. Dalbir Singh said the army has “zero tolerance” to human rights violations. “Otherwise (there is) no restriction.”

He said the security challenges were growing “because of active borders that we have”.

“The army is prepared, well-trained, motivated, equipped, focused to promote national interest and meet any threat coming in the way,” he said.

Referring to the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and the high voter turnout, Gen. Dalbir Singh said it happened because of the better security situation.

The army chief said areas such as Tral and Sopore had recorded less than five percent polling in the 2008 elections but this time recorded about 39 percent voting.

“It was because of the security situation created that people of the area felt confident to come out and vote,” he said.

The army and other security forces had created a security grid to achieve a “stable security situation”.

He said 110 militants were eliminated last year, of which 104 were killed by the army. The army chief said 65 militants were killed in 2013.

He said the “spillover effect from Afghanistan due to the evolving situation was being watched carefully”.

He said the border with China was peaceful. “We are following a policy of constructive engagement as far as China is concerned.”

Gen. Dalbir Singh said army-to-army exchanges between the two countries have enhanced mutual understanding and helped in resolution of contentious issues.

Referring to the situation in the northeast, he said it was “stable”.

“People-friendly operations are being conducted to complement development initiatives,” he said.

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