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Security situation will improve in Pak: army chief

Now India can talk to democratically elected Govt in that country, says Indian Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2008 12:04 IST

Security situation in Pakistan should improve after the elections and India would be able to resolve disputes by talking to democratically elected government in that country, said Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor.

Talking to Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's "Devil's Advocate" show on Friday, February 22 Kapoor said: "With the elections now having taken place, I think the security situation in Pakistan, if it now gets stabilized, should improve. When the things were turbulent we were a little worried... and therefore we were very vigilant on the borders."

The general added: "But now that elections have taken place and, hopefully, in the next few days they will have a government (and) we would be able to talk to a democratically elected government to resolve some of our differences."

Asked about his opinion of Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani, Kapoor said: "I think General Kayani is a professional soldier and has gone through the mill and come up as a capable officer and I think he would be able to handle the Pakistan Army professionally."

He said it was reassuring to have a person, "who is a professional soldier" at the head of the Pakistan Army.

Speaking about infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC), Kapoor said: "Let me give you a comparison between 2006 and 2007. In 2006 the infiltration was approximately 343 as per our count. In 2007 it was 311. So there's a marginal decline so far as infiltration numbers are concerned. But as far as the attempts or bids (are concerned) they were slightly higher in 2007."

The general said during the recent turmoil and turbulence in Pakistan he was not worried that the Pakistani Army would carry out adventurous action against India to divert attention from troubles at home.

"With the kind of commitment the Pakistan Army has on its western borders as well as within the country, the possibility of this kind of adventurism would not be very high," he said.

On the question of Chinese incursions on the Arunachal Pradesh border between the Chinese and Indian sides, Kapoor said: "I think a degree of misperception has been built on this issue of incursions... first and foremost it's a matter of perception. The Chinese have a different perception of the Line of Actual Control as do we.

"When they come up to their perception we call it an incursion and likewise they do. And let me tell you in 2007 the level of total number of incursions is somewhat similar to what it has been in the past. So the feeling that too many incursions have taken place into the Indian territory is not right."

"We would be as much blameworthy for that kind of incursion up to our perceived Line of Control (as the Chinese)," he added.

Denying that Chinese incursions were a sign of muscle flexing, the general said: "At times the press has not been fair in reporting this very accurately."

Whilst speaking about the differences in infrastructure - road and railway development - at the Arunachal border, Kapoor said: "It gives them (the Chinese) an additional capability to bring in additional troops if and when they want to bring in. So that's an area where we need to be on an equal footing. Our infrastructure is not so well-developed is a fact..."

However, Kapoor said satellite technology gave India an ability to see deep across the LoC into the Chinese side.

On the issue of Chinese military build-up and the so-called "string of pearls", a circle of China's military installations around India, Kapoor said: "Every one of the bases that the Chinese may have may not necessarily be seen as an attempt to encircle India per se."

On the increasing use of the army to handle internal insurgencies or communal disturbances and said that the army "must only be used as a last resort" and added: "It should be used for a minimal period".

Kapoor said that using the army for counter-insurgency operations undermined its deterrence effect.