BJP''s Ekta Yatra part of ''political wranglings'': Army Chief

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New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) Dismissing BJP''s flag-hoistingprogramme in Srinagar''s Lal Chowk area as "politicalwranglings", Army chief General V K Singh today said hisservice was not concerned with such "political games".

"These are political wranglings, political games whichdon''t concern the Army. There has been a lot of noise aboutthe issue," he said in an interview with Headlines Today.

The Army chief was replying to queries related to BJPyouth wing''s programme to hoist national flag at Lal Chowkarea in Srinagar on Republic Day this year.

As the Unified Command Headquarters functions from thestate, Army''s job was to see that the situation remains undercontrol there.

On the prevailing security situation in Jammu andKashmir, Singh said though the scenario has improved, therewas no question of withdrawing Army troops from there.

"The day the 42 terror camps on the other side arewound up and Pakistan stops its proxy war, that would be thetime to withdraw. At the moment, we don''t think there is aneed for troop reductions," the Army chief said.

"There should be reduction in Central paramilitaryForces to reduce the visibility factor," he added.

Pointing out that it was impossible for terror campsto function without the support of elements in Pakistan,Singh said it was in India''s diplomatic interest that adialogue process with Pakistan was kept active.

"If fundamentalists gain power in Pakistan, it is badfor both countries," he said.

Noting that the army was not an obstacle to politicalendeavours in the state, Singh said, "We must look veryclosely at the ideology being preached in the Kashmir valley.

What are we doing to counter this ideology. Are the mainstreampolitical parties doing anything about it."

On the achievements of the Army in the state, Singhsaid "militarily, we have achieved a great deal. Rural areasdidn''t erupt" during the stone-pelting protests in the urbanareas.

Asked about the recent scams that have hit the Army,he said, "I have to ensure that the backbone of the army isstiffened. It had become flexible. We have told our rank andfile that we will spare nobody -- whether you are a sepoy or ageneral, nobody will be spared if you do wrong."

On the threat from China, Singh said, "things are notas alarming as people think. China does nothing in a hurry.

Their focus right now is on economics. If their intentionschange, it will show. Please remember, we are no longer in1962. We are more than confident of being able to match themwhere we want to." PTI AJD AD

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