Northern Army Commander Lt General DS Hooda has ruled out any possibility of withdrawal of troops from the Siachen, the highest battleground in the world. He added it was unwarranted to link troop withdrawal with the tragedy at Siachen, where an avalanche had to the death of nine soldiers. A survivor also breathed his last at a Delhi hospital on Thursday.
“Let me make it clear that we had a tragedy at Siachen, but I see no reason to connect it with troop withdrawal. There is no link to it. We are committed to defend our border and we will continue do so,” said Hooda at a media interaction in Udhampur.
On Thursday, Pakistan had made a fresh appeal that both countries should ‘mutually agree to withdrawal of troops’ from the Siachen. It had said matter should be ‘treated in urgent manner’ to ensure that more lives are not lost.
“For an agreement on troops withdrawal, some conditions have to be met and these are not agreeable to the other country. The first step is to authenticate the actual position, where we have our posts and both sides should agree on this. There is no such agreement,” he said.
‘Young militants a concern’
Hooda added that even as the level of militancy had come down in Jammu and Kashmir, but concerns persisted on young people joining terrorist outfits. He said the army will help them in rehabilitation if such young militants surrendered, provided they had not committed heinous crimes.
“From a security perspective, things are improving on the ground as many top terrorists have been killed and incidents of terrorism have come down. From a larger perspective, young people joining terror groups remains a concern. It’s also tragic also as terrorists have life span of six months to a year. We will help them in rehabilitation. They should leave the gun and come back,” he said.
He said though there hasn’t been any incident of cross-border infiltration along the LoC for the last three months, but terror infrastructure remained intact.
to catch up with China’
Lt General Hooda added that Indian infrastructure, especially roads along the Line-of Actual control (LAC), was not comparable to what China had built along its border.
“The Chinese have a better-developed infrastructure along their border, but the Indian government has also given a push to building more roads and deploying additional troops. Things have improved over the years.”