Reacting to Himachal chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's threat to sue Indian army over an alleged statement against him, the army made it clear on Monday that "there is no conflict with the state" and that it never issued any statement allegedly appeared in a section of media.
Briefing media, Brig AK Sharma of Western Command said that Annandale ground is logically, operationally and from disaster point of view very critical. However, there is no issue with the state government, he affirmed.
Clearing the air between Himachal government and the army, he reiterated that the ground, in its possession since World War II, is strategically and logistically important for carrying out exercises and operations in forward areas.
Justifying ground's possession with it, which the state is claiming is under illegal occupation, Brig Sharma said it was also important for carrying out relief operations in case of natural disasters in forward areas of the region.
Considering the fact that this area falls under the high seismic zone and it has a history of flashfloods, he said the army needs its possession and added that armed forces were regularly conducting exercises, both operational and disaster management-related in addition to routine training.
It's a mother helipad (important point for landing and operations of helicopters) from where both relief and rescue operations were carried out quickly and smoothly, Brig Sharma added.
On Dhumal's assertions that the state government was ready to provide alternate land in place of Annandale ground, the army official said there was no other ground in the region that was of strategic significance from national security perspective.