No conflict with Himachal on Annandale: army | india | Hindustan Times
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No conflict with Himachal on Annandale: army

india Updated: Apr 16, 2012 20:29 IST

The Army today sought to play down its standoff with Himachal Pradesh government over control of Annandale ground here saying there was "no conflict" with the state authorities on the issue.

However, the Army maintained the ground was under its possession since World War-II and was important from of strategic and logistic points of view for carrying out exercises and operations in forward areas.

Brig A K Sharma of Western Command said "there is no issue with the government".

However, he did not say anything about the claim of the state government that the ground was under "illegal possession" of the Army.

Sharma said the ground "is of very critical importance operationally and from disaster management points of view".

Apparently responding to Chief Minister P K Dhumal's question wanting to know what the army has been doing in the Annandale ground for the last 30 years, Sharma said the ground was also important for carrying out relief operations in case of natural disasters in forward areas in the region.

The armed forces were regularly conducting exercises, both operational and disaster management, in addition to routine training, he added.

"It is a mother helipad (important point for landing and operations of helicopters) from where both relief and rescue operations are carried out quickly and smoothly", Brig Sharma, who was at Annadale to oversee the exercises of the Army, said.

"Considering the fact that this area falls under the high seismic zone and has history of flashfloods, the Army needs its possession", he said.

Referring to the statement of Dhumal threatening to file a defamation suit against the army for the alleged insinuations made against the Chief Minister and the state government, Sharma said "we have never issued any such statement and have nothing to do with what has appeared in the press".