In a bid to counter the misuse of social networking sites by militants, the army’s Northern Command on Tuesday joined social media platform Twitter to interact with people of Jammu and Kashmir.
In his first tweet from the handle NorthernComd.IA, Northern Command General-officer-commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) Lt Gen DS Hooda wrote: “Presence of Northern Comd on Twitter is a step towards involving our citizens in activities of Indian Army in J&K.”
“I look forward to a positive interaction through this forum,” he tweeted next.
The army has reached out to the masses in Jammu and Kashmir through Twitter and Facebook to generate awareness about public welfare initiatives such as Operation Sadbhavna earlier. However, with the new Twitter handle, people can directly interact with the most senior army officer in the state.
‘FLEDGLING FIRST STEP’
Appreciating the move, Lt Gen HS Panag (retd), who is a former army commander of the Northern Command, said: “This is a positive development and the army must make the most of it.”
Active on Twitter himself, he said, “It is important that the army’s social media reach be used effectively to share basic information, if not everything.”
Similarly, Lt Gen Ata Hasnain (retd), a former commander of Srinagar-based 15 Corps, sees this as a “fledging first step” but adds that this should have happened “some light years ago”. “Physical outreach has limitations and time constraints. Social media is the enabler which facilitates interactive outreach to millions at the press of a button,” said Lt Gen Hasnain. “There is much to be learnt about strategic communication where your message reaches the people you want it to reach. Being on social media is insufficient; being there with the right focus, aim and intent is the necessity,” he said.
The officers said that the initiative should not remain limited to the Northern Command headquarters. “It must go down to the corps and divisions,” he added.