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'India not to pull out troops from J&K'

J&K Governor Lt Gen SK Sinha said Islamabad's failure to de-militarise PoK had contributed to Kashmir problem.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2006 19:08 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen SK Sinha on Monday indicated there was no question of withdrawing troops from the state till Pakistan took a similar step in the Kashmir it occupies.

Sinha pointed out that Islamabad's failure to de-militarise Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in keeping with UN resolutions in 1949 had contributed to the Kashmir problem.

"I fail to understand how those who failed to de-militarise are now advocating the de-militarisation of Jammu and Kashmir when violence is continuing," Sinha told a function here to mark the release of his book "A Governor's Musings" by former prime minister IK Gujral.

Responding to a question on President Pervez Musharraf's proposal for de-militarising select cities in Jammu and Kashmir and introducing self-governance there, Sinha said, "De-militarisation cannot precede de-terrorisation."

Sinha, who quit as vice chief of the Indian Army in 1983 and has had extensive experience in fighting insurgency in the northeast and Kashmir, said, "The troops in Kashmir are fighting terrorism and violence, and they cannot be pulled out till terrorism ends.

"Let terrorism cease first," he asserted.

Sinha, who became governor of Kashmir in 2003, has played a key role in helping forge greater cooperation between the Indian Army, paramilitary forces and state police in combating terrorism.

India has rejected Musharraf's proposal for de-militarisation, but it has been withdrawing troops from the state following a fall in guerrilla violence in the past year.

Earlier this month, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said some 5,000 troops had been re-deployed from Kashmir to West Bengal. These troops had been sent to the state during the 1999 Kargil border conflict with Pakistan.

Though the Army does not release figures for deployment in Jammu and Kashmir, close to 4,00,000 soldiers and paramilitary troopers are currently engaged in counter-insurgency operations and guarding the frontiers in the state.

First Published: Feb 13, 2006 18:42 IST