No large IS footprints but it's creeping into India: Army
There are no large footprints of the Islamic State (IS) in Jammu and Kashmir but the militant group is "creeping towards this side", said Lt General DS Hooda, Northern Army Commander, on the Kargil Vijay Diwas.
Hooda said the security grid has to stop the "terrible" organisation from getting a foothold in the country. He also expressed concern on Sunday over a number of youth joining militancy, but said the numbers were not large to transform the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking to reporters after laying wreath at the war memorial in Drass and paying homage to the martyrs of the 1999 Kargil war, he said: "There are no large footprints of ISIS (another acronym for IS) in Jammu and Kashmir. Yes, there are incidents of flag waving that we have seen.
"Is it a matter of concern, yes it is. Because ISIS is such an organisation with such radical sort of ideology and views that we should make sure that it doesn't even get a hold and it has no place in a democracy.
"And therefore, there is a reason for us to see how to fight this ideological battle and frankly that is the plan at which it will get fought. So, for us who are concerned with security and those concerned with governance, everybody has to put his head together and make sure that this very terrible organisation, if I may call it, doesn't get a foothold in India," Hooda said.
The army commander said the creeping of ISIS into the region is a matter of concern.
"We are seeing it (footprints of IS in the region) slowly. We have already seen it in Afghanistan.There have been numerous incidents of conflict between ISIS and the Afghan Taliban. The ISIS is trying to gain some influence in Afghanistan. We have also seen factions of TTP which operates in Pakistan which has pledged their allegiance to ISIS.
"So there is a creeping towards this side and definitely it is a matter of concern that their coming into closer and closer into our region," he said.
The army commander also voiced concern over a number of youth joining militancy.
"There are reports that last year, according to our intelligence figures, about 60 local recruits, mostly from south Kashmir, and this year about 30-35 is the figure that we have. The number is not that large that it will transform the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir."
"But obviously, it is a matter of concern when young people have now slowly again started picking up the gun because two-three years back, the numbers were single digit – five, six or seven – that was the kind of recruitment taking place," he said.
Hooda said the establishment has to look at the issues of alienation and employment to counter the trend.
"We have to look at this.The youth engagement is something that everyone talks about, like how to do, do they have enough employment opportunities, that there is a sense of alienation and how to tackle that.These are the issues that we have to look at," he said.