Army chief General Bikram Singh's close association with the Kashmir Valley came to the fore today as he shared his feelings with the children from the terrorism-hit area.
"The valley is always on my mind . I have shed blood there,"General Singh said.
The school children from the valley had come to meet the army chief as part of their countrywide tour 'Watan ki Sair'.
The tour is conducted by the Indian Army under Operation Sadbhavana to bring people of Jammu and Kashmir into the mainstream. Receiving the students at the Army headquarter here he reminded them that he was shot at in an encounter in his earlier posting in the state. "Vaadi toh mere jehan mein hai, maine khoon bahaya ha wahan, maine goli khaayee thi (The valley is in my mind, I have shed my blood and have taken bullets)," he said in chaste Hindi and exhorted the students to join the army.
The army chief expressed satisfaction over the improvement in situation in the valley. He expressed the hope that the younger generation of the state would live in peaceful atmosphere.
"How many of you would like to join army?" he asked and almost all the students raised their hands in affirmation.
'Remain committed and be focused in your approach to achieve your goal,' he said while giving tips to these students on how to achieve success in life.
The students invited the army chief to visit to Kashmir. He readily accepted the invitation and told them that he will come to see them in their schools.
Vice chief of army staff Lt General SK Singh, who was also present on the occasion, ruled out any reduction of troops from the valley. Pressure should remain to retain the peaceful atmosphere in the state.
Answering questions, he said anti-peace elements were still active in the valley and constant vigil was needed to maintain peace. He denied the media reports that some battalions were being moved from Jammu and Kashmir to the north-eastern region of the country. "The report is baseless. This is not even under consideration," he added.