The army and Himachal government today agreed to find a mutually acceptable solution to the controversy over Annandale ground in the state capital.
"I called on the chief minister, and he has been very supportive of the defence forces. I must compliment him. That (Annandale issue) was discussed and I am sure we will find a mutually acceptable solution," Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh said on Tuesday after meeting Himachal chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal at the secretariat here.
This was Gen Singh's first meeting with Dhumal after the army locked horns with the state government over the possession of Annandale ground.
The army had raised objections to a campaign launched by local association for regaining the ground for the construction of what it called a multi-facility sports centre.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) has been vying for the ground to construct an international sports stadium.
Dhumal, during his previous tenure, had urged the ministry of defence to hand over the ground to the state government.
ESCALATED ACTIVITIES ON INDO-CHINA BORDER DISCUSSED
General Singh and Dhumal also discussed escalated activities in the tribal Lahaul and Spiti and tribal Kinnaur districts along the Indo-China border.
"General Singh expressed concern over the activities along the Himachal border," Dhumal told Hindustan Times even as he refused to share more details of the meeting, described as a "courtesy call".
The chief minister apprised General Singh about the air space intrusion in Kaurik sector by Chinese helicopters. "Air space along the Chinese border has been violated twice," Dhumal said, adding that the matter related to security had been discussed.
Dhumal has been repeatedly asking the central government to strengthen infrastructure on the "porous" border in Himachal.
Also, Dhumal has been stressing expansion of the Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri railway line via Mandi-Manali to Leh. Once the railway track is laid, the distance between Bhanupalli and Leh would be reduced to only 455 km.
It would also enable faster movement of troops to the border areas.
In reply to a question over the offer made by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare to join him,
Gen Singh said that he was still undecided on post- retirement plans. "I have not yet decided anything about retirement plans," said the chief of Indian army. During the day, Gen Singh also attended an important meeting at Army Training Command in Shimla.