Territorial integrity, security paramount: Army chief

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Srinagar, Apr.25 (ANI): The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Vijay Kumar Singh, has said territorial integrity and security is paramount for the country's armed forces.

Undertaking a maiden three-day visit of Jammu and Kashmir as army chief earlier this week, General Singh acknowledged that the Kashmir Valley and other remote regions of the State are affected by terrorism, and therefore, there was a need to pursue a policy of proactive engagement in synergy with the state police, the paramilitary forces, the state and central governments.

He said this would ensure the complete eradication of terrorism.

General Singh said the armed forces would not hesitate to aggressively engage infiltrators from across the border, and added, that every effort would be made to prevent the terrorist leadership from reviving terrorism in the state.

He said he was quite aware of the harsh conditions under which the troops were operating, and supported all initiatives that would strengthen their efforts to face the challenges to national security.

General Singh said the army is ready to face all contingencies to safeguard the security and interests of the people of the state.

Having commanded a unit and a division in the Kashmir Valley and also holding the post of Chief of Staff of the Srinagar-based strategic Chinar Corps, General Singh chose to visit the sector on his maiden visit as COAS.

He ruled out a dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, saying it would adversely affect the army's operations in the Kashmir Valley and other sensitive areas of the state.

In Ladakh, General Singh focussed on deployments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and assessed the situation on ground in the wake of the recent intrusions by Chinese troops.

He laid stress on the need for maintaining a heightened vigil along the LAC, and also referred to the challenges being faced by troops in this regard.

In the Poonch-Rajouri sector, General Singh said preventing cross-border infiltration, which is on the rise again, is paramount.

He warned that the next few months would be crucial on this front, and laid stress on the importance of sharing intelligence with other agencies, besides seeking local support for security-related operations.

Praising the army for improving the lives of locals through projects like Sadbhavna (harmony), General Singh said the process of bonding with the local populace must be maintained and all attempts should be encouraged to ameliorate hardships caused by over two decades of insurgency and terrorism.

He praised the soldiers for their professional proficiency in times of hardship and assured them that the entire nation is grateful to them for guarding the country's frontiers. By Jaibans Singh (ANI)

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