Chinese incursions: No cause for alarm

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New Delhi, Jan 14: A day after External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee admitted to Chinese incursions into Indian territory, the Army Chief said there was nothing alarming about the phenomenon, and neither had the level gone up in recent times.

''We have our perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as do the Chinese. We patrol up to where we think the LAC is, and so do the Chinese... there is no cause for concern,'' Gen Deepak Kapoor said at the customary press conference on the eve of the Army Day. The Army Chief said it would have been a source of worry had the level of such intrusions gone up in recent times, but clarified that the level had been constant.

''Overall, in the entire year, the level has been the same as in the past,'' he added.

Responding to whether India should also be concerned at similar Chinese incursions into Bhutan, Gen Kapoor said this should be taken up at the diplomatic level.

Ruling out any withdrawal of troops from Jammu and Kashmir, he said though the violence in the state had gone down considerably, it was too premature to let down the guard yet.

''The situation in the state is better, and the levels of violence have gone down by 55 per cent. However, this is due to the security cover by the troops. As the insurgency in the state is orchestrated by outside forces, there is a distinct possibility of the situation worsening if this security cover is withdrawn,'' he said.

The Army Chief also opposed the use of troops in anti-naxal operations.

''Our primary task is to defend the country's borders and safeguard its territorial integrity. For law and order problems, there are the police and the para-military forces,'' Gen Kapoor said, adding that the Army should only be used as the ''weapon of last resort.'' The Army Chief said they were fully willing to assist in imparting training and techniques to fight the radical left-wing insurgents.

''We have trained as many as 85 companies of central police forces in tackling naxalites and should train another 65 by June,'' he said.

As far as the doctrinal aspect was concerned, he said the Directorate General of Military Operations had been tasked with preparing a concept paper on this. This would be circulated among various security outfits, he added.

On involvement of other services in tackling militancy, Gen Kapoor noted counter-insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East were 'Army-specific.' ''We involve other services when required. The Indian Air Force contributes when required. We use their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) when required, and they assist us logistically, in medical evacuations and so on,'' he said.

As regards the Navy, he pointed out that a platoon of Marine Commandos (MarCos) were deployed at the Wular lake in J&K.


UNI

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