Must bring Kashmir’s radicalised youth into mainstream: Army

New Delhi, Apr 20: Top Army commanders have favoured a collective approach in bringing the radicalised youth in Jammu and Kashmir into the mainstream and focus on minimising collateral damage in anti-terror operations in the state.
The commanders, at a six-day conference which began on April 16, also delved into a host of key issues including the situation along the borders with China and modernisation of the force with limited budgetary allocation, a senior Army official said.
Director General Staff Duties Lt General A K Sharma said the commanders confabulated on the prevalent situation in the Kashmir Valley and reviewed recent developments affecting the modus operandi of the operations of the armed forces deployed there.
“It was felt that priority must be accorded towards ushering in peace by conducting counter terrorist operations that minimise collateral damage,” he said.
Security forces have been facing stiff opposition from Valley residents some of whom had resorted to stone pelting at the security forces in certain areas.
Sharma said the commanders felt that radicalised youth must be brought into the mainstream by carrying out de-radicalisation initiatives and favoured a collective approach that focuses on convincing the youth to shun violence and the gun culture.
He said the commanders also reviewed the situation along the Line of Control and the increase in ceasefire violations there. They also talked about “adequacy of the response mechanisms” to ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
In his opening remarks on April 16, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat had impressed upon the need to work in a collaborative manner for retaining and enhancing the current levels of combat effectiveness, Sharma said.
He said the Army chief expressed satisfaction at the way the Army was adapting to dynamic security challenges and stressed the need to lay down judicious priorities to ensure that the allocated resources are utilised optimally.
Last month, the Army told a parliamentary panel it was reeling under severe fund crunch and struggling to even make emergency procurement when there was a real possibility of a two-front war and both China as well as Pakistan was carrying out modernisation of their defence forces in “full swing”.
The official said “considerable” time was devoted to “re-prioritising” existing requirements to ensure that resources allocated for force modernisation and capacity building were optimally utilised within the budgetary allocation.
The Army commanders will tomorrow discuss matters related exclusively to military operations.
A major focus of the conference was on bolstering the Army’s overall operational preparedness along the nearly 4,000 km-long border with China.
Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a 73-day standoff in Doklam in the Sikkim sector last year after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. The face-off ended on August 28.
The other aspect which was given prominence during the conference was the recommendations of the Committee of Experts (the Shekatkar Committee report under the chairmanship of Lt Gen (retd) D B Shekatkar).
The committee was formed to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and re-balance defence expenditure of the armed forces. The committee submitted its report in December 2016.
In August last year, the then Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had said the panel had suggested 99 recommendations for structural changes in the Army and out of which the defence ministry has accepted 65 after consultations with all the stakeholders.
Sharma said the Army commanders also deliberated issues related to cyber security and security of military establishments.
Lt General Sharma said issues related to cadre management, assured career progression and measures to meet the genuine aspirations of the entire rank and file of the Indian Army were deliberated upon in great detail.
“The key issues covered during this session were financial management, equipment optimisation, management of communication and data security and streamlining of existing procedures pertaining to administration,” he said. (Agencies)