Army cited international issues on AFSPA at UHQ meet | india | Hindustan Times
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Army cited international issues on AFSPA at UHQ meet

india Updated: Nov 11, 2011 20:41 IST
Amir Karim Tantray

While expressing its opposition to the withdrawal of the operations of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the army highlighted some international and local dimensions to the issue at the unified headquarters (UHQ) meeting on Wednesday.

The act is operational in 20 of the 22 districts of the state, empowering the security forces to shoot at sight or arrest people without warrant in areas declared disturbed. The law shields the security forces from prosecution (unless the central government gives sanction).

"India's tenure in the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) as non-permanent member is ending in one year's time but Pakistan has a long way ahead. Similarly, the number of Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) members will be increasing in the UNSC, which will strengthen the pro-Pakistan lobby. At that time India will have to present its view through some other country," an army source said during the hour-long meeting.

"The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan will be completed by 2014, which will enable Pakistan to shift its focus back to Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, the US is going in for polls in the near future and a change of guard is expected, which will also change the strategy towards South-east Asia," the source said.

The situation on the other side of the line of control (LoC) has not changed but it was due to pressure from the US that Pakistan was forced to curb its activities in J&K.

"Working against (the US direction) would have brought Pakistan in an awkward position had India gone aggressive on its borders. Had that happened, Pakistan would have shifted its forces from its western border to the India border, which was not in the best interests of the superpower as it would have affected its operations on the Afghanistan border."

Lastly, the army focused on the situation in the state, mainly on the twin districts of the valley – Srinagar and Budgam – where the government is proposing to revoke the act.

"Srinagar and Budgam are strategically important districts of the valley. Srinagar, being the capital of the state, also has headquarters of 15 Corps of the army. Though the army is not involved in any kind of operation in the capital city, at the time of an eventuality like the one in 2010, the army is called in and in the absence of the act, no operation will be possible."