AMID RISING tension with Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC), Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and five Army commanders arrived on a two-day visit to Srinagar Thursday. Although Army sources called it a “routine meeting”, a meeting involving five of the seven Army commanders outside Delhi is unusual. “Some of the commanders are in Srinagar along with Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. It is a routine meeting which had been decided earlier. The agenda of the meeting is not known,” sources in Army headquarters said.
The seven Army commanders, along with the Vice-Chief, form the second-highest rung of the Army under the chief. All the Army commanders meet as per schedule in Delhi, twice every year, for a five-day long Army Commanders Conference, which is addressed by the Defence Minister. There is no precedent of so many Army commanders meeting outside Delhi, and that too in a strife-torn area.
Amid the deteriorating internal security situation in Kashmir and heightened tension with Pakistan on the LoC, this is the third visit by General Rawat to Srinagar-headquartered 15 Corps. But this time he is accompanied by five Army commanders and Deputy Chief from Army headquarters.
A senior Army official told The Indian Express that the meeting had been organised to create uncertainty in the mind of the adversary. Following the beheading of two security personnel by a Pakistan Army Border Action Team on the LoC last month, the Pakistani side has been in a state of high alert, fearing an Indian response. Such visits by the military brass, the official said, are likely to “keep them guessing” about the Indian Army’s plan of action. The meeting is also bound to evoke a response among the local populace in the Valley.
The Srinagar Corps, which is commonly called the Chinar Corps because of its formation insignia, is responsible for the internal security situation in Kashmir and for guarding the LoC north of Pir Panjal ranges. It comes directly under the Udhampur-headquartered Northern Command. The other commands — Eastern, Western, South Western, Southern, Central and the Army Training Commands — have no jurisdiction in the Valley.