by Editorial

A delegation of Foreign Heads of Mission in India is on a visit to Jammu and Kashmir from 17 February to assess the ground situation in the region. The team of Heads of Missions visited Headquarter 15 Corps in Badami Bagh Cantt on 18 Feb and interacted with Lieutenant General B.S. Raju, General Officer Commanding, Chinar Corps and other senior officers including Inspector General of Police Mr Vijay Kumar. The envoys were briefed by the police and army representatives on the ground situation at the line of control and in the hinterland.

The police briefing included an update on the efforts on ‘mainstreaming the youth’ and ‘policing under Covid-19 challenges’. This was followed by an Army briefing which included a brief historical update and the current situation in J&K. The event concluded with a question answer session wherein the heads of missions asked questions to the 15 Corps Commander. In response to the queries the Corps Commander elucidate the multi-pronged and integrated approach of the Indian Army and Police in J&K.

On being asked about the status of various terror organisations, the Corps Commander shared that overall the security indicators have improved however the terrorists still retain the ability for a terror act. Last year most terror organizations have experienced depletion in their strength and killing of the tanzeem leaders which has resulted in a more secure environment. He further explained that despite the terrorist estimates reducing to nearly 200, the edifice of counter terror operations still requires a grid deployment to ensure security to the citizens residing in the UT. International experiences including in Afghanistan prove the need for boots on ground in Counter Terror operations. He shared that while grassroots politics is taking root the terror organisations effort to target political workers is a worry. It is a clear message that Pakistan-sponsored elements do not want a change to status quo. Any activity that leads to normalization of the situation is opposed.

The Corps Commander also drew attention to the propaganda efforts of Pakistan and the separatists, he shared that Kashmiri citizens have seen through the lies of the cross-border propaganda and are choosing to ignore it. On being queried about de-radicalisation efforts, the Corps Commander shared that the principal supporters in such efforts are the parents, society elders and friends who help in identification of youth vulnerable to radical ideology. A joint civil society and government effort is made to counsel and support such an identified youth. The visiting envoys expressed satisfaction at the soft policing being attempted in J&K. On being queried about role of NGOs in supporting the government efforts the Corps Commander shared that many local and national NGOs are helping in government effort in J&K, these are in diverse fields including drug abuse, women empowerment and skilling of the youth. The national NGOs bring in skills, technology and help in building cross regional linkages, which would prove invaluable in the long term.

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