SRINAGAR: Army Chief General M M Naravane Thursday said there was a “sense of normalcy prevailing” in J&K and if the situation permits, the army can pull out some of its personnel from active deployment areas but the ruled out altogether withdrawal.

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Speaking to a selected group of journalists mostly those representing national television channels, at JAKLI Centre Rangreth on Srinagar outskirts, the army chief said that they have a counter-infiltration grid in place to prevent infiltration along the Line of Control and also the counter-militancy grid to tackle militancy in the hinterland.

“All these deployments are dynamic and they depend on situation and threat perception. We do review deployment from time to time. If we feel and the situation permits, we can take the course of pulling out some troops from the active deployment areas to rear areas so that they get time to relax, but they will not be pulled out altogether,” he said in reply to a query whether the army was mulling to cut the size of its men in J&K given the prevailing peaceful atmosphere in Kashmir.

He said there was a “sense of normalcy prevailing in J&K, especially Kashmir. “There have been very few militant activities and stone-pelting and IED related incidents. This indicates a sense of normalcy. People also want the same and it is a good thing. After a long time, we have reached the level where peace prevails,” he said.

The army chief said that-ceasefire is being observed ‘afresh’ since February this year and the onus of holding it further lies on Pakistan. “Onus of holding it further lies on Pakistan. As long as they do so, we will hold it. While it (ceasefire) is on, other activities Pakistan is indulging in are militant infrastructure, camps-and militants. This continues…,” he said.

“Therefore, there can be no lowering of the guard as far as levels of alertness and preparedness is concerned. Trust is a difficult thing to come by, it takes a lot of time to build. So the situation on that score can’t change overnight.” The army chief said that if Pakistan stops “desisting from pushing militants from across and fomenting trouble in India, then all these steps will help build up the level of trust between the two countries further.

“But, I reiterate onus is on Pakistan,” he said. (KNO)


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