Indian Army opposes moving out of Siachen
Repeat of 1962 ruled out, Samba incident ‘aberration’
NEW DELHI, Sep 19 (Agencies): Indian Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh today said the Indian military would not like to move out of the \”strategically important\” icy heights for which a \”lot of blood has been shed\”.
He made the statement at a time when Pakistan is pushing for demilitarisation of Siachen,
Talking to media persons, Gen Singh stated that the Army has conveyed its views to the government which has to take a final decision in this regard.
\”It is very important and we must continue to hold that area and we have held that view always…. We have lost our lives and lot of blood has been shed to get into these areas and occupy the heights and positions,” he said.
\”These positions are of strategic importance and we have given our concerns to the Government and now it is for the Government to decide,\” Gen Singh said.
Pakistan has been pushing for demilitarisation of Siachen but India has maintained that this cannot take place without proper authentication by both sides of the present troop positions on the glacier.
Asked if the Army believed that the glacier has to be held under control then why the talks were being held, he said, \”The negotiations are at government level and at the national level. Let us see, how these negotiations progress but we have given our point of view.\”
Gen Singh said the Army has not changed its views on the importance of the strategic heights which have been under Indian physical control since 1984 after the Army launched to Operation Meghdoot to occupy them.
Asked how much flexible India was willing to be on the issue, he said it was discussed during the 13th round of Defence Secretary-level talks held in Islamabad.
\”This is one of the issues supposed to have been discussed and it was not concluded at that point of time and I think it will carry forward. I think modalities have to be worked out during the dialogue to be held next year.\”
CHINESE TROOPS PRESENCE
Army chief alleged that Chinese soldiers are present in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) to provide security to its ongoing railways and road projects there.
\”We are told that Chinese soldiers are there to provide protection to their ongoing projects related to their railways, road and hydro-electric projects and it is basically for security purposes,\” Gen Singh said.
\”We have already conveyed this to the Government and whatever is there, we have our frontiers guarded well,\” Singh said when asked if the presence of Chinese troops in PAK was a matter of concern for the force.
India has already expressed its concerns to China over the presence of its troops in PAK . Reports in the recent past have suggested that around 4,000 Chinese troops are present in PAK.
Asked if it was possible for any country to repeat 1962, Gen Singh said, \”Such an event will not be repeated as the country’s forces have got plans in place to protect the territorial integrity of the nation.”
\”No. It will not be repeated. I am assuring the nation as Chief of the Army Staff that 1962 will not be repeated. No way. Country’s borders are well protected and the Army will not allow the enemy to cross it,\” he said.
In next few months, it will be 50 years of Sino-India war during which the Chinese force had crossed over and entered territories in the north and northeastern region.
\”I am not talking about any country. I am only assuring as Chief of the Army Staff. We have plans in place to safeguard the territorial integrity of our country. That is the assurance I am giving you,\” he said.
When asked if he was satisfied with infrastructure development in the Northeast especially Arunachal Pradesh, the Army Chief said several projects were going on there but \”yeh dil maange more (the heart wants more)\”.
SAMBA, LEH INCIDENTS
Interacting with journalists, Gen Singh said the findings of the Courts of Inquiry (CoIs) are awaited in two recent incidents and suitable steps will be taken on its basis.
Asked whether the shortage of officers is leading to incidents of friction between soldiers and officers, Gen Singh said, “Yes, that is one of the main reasons. The shortfall of officers as of now is 10,100. The deficiency is definitely impacting.”
This year in May and August two such incidents were reported in units located at Nyoma and Samba in Jammu and Kashmir where scuffle broke out between the jawans and the officers. One such incident had reportedly taken place in 2010 in Gurdaspur in Punjab.
Terming the incidents as “aberrations” and “isolated” ones, the Army Chief said his concerns were to ensure that the environment at the unit-level is suitable for growth and upholding the military values.
“As you know we had one or two instances, these are aberrations of course and these were isolated incidents. One was in 2010 and in recent past we had two incidents,” he said.
On steps taken by him to address the issue, he said, “As a Chief, my concerns have been to ensure that we get back to basics and ensure that climate and environment in the units are correct and conducive to growth and group cohesion and the core values of the Army are upheld.”
Gen Singh said integrity, duty, loyalty, respect, selfless service, courage and honour are some of the values taught by Army and he has been speaking about upholding them during his visits to various Commands and other military locations.