Emphasising the need for sustained counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, Northern Army Commander Lt General D Anbu on Wednesday said that an increasing number of local youths taking up arms despite elimination of a large number of militants in 2017 has been a matter of concern.
Speaking to the media after the investiture ceremony of the Northern Command here, he said there was need to stop infiltration from across the border, eliminate militants operating in the hinterland and arrest the capability to induce locals, which has been the trend in the last couple of years. “If you address all three, you will attain success,” he said. “So in this particular last year, 2017, we focused on the leadership of terrorists and you all know that we were able to eliminate a large number of them, and then of course, the terrorists we eliminated,” he said, referring to the killing of a record 200-plus militants.
“But to our fear and concern, the local terrorists taking up arms continue to increase and you know there are a large number of reasons for that, whether it is social, economic, political, religious…,” the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Northern Command said.
He said that people taking up arms are in “the age group of 20, 30 and less”, and that to arrest the trend, “one major factor we need to do is if you are able to address a terrorist, you eliminate the terrorist, And you ensure the overground workers are also equally targeted.”
He attributed the increase in local youths joining militant ranks to post-Burhan Wani euphoria on social media, and stressed measures to engage youths in the state to arrest the trend. Pointing out that Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are all hand in glove with each other, he advocated sustained counter-insurgency operations.
“We want the situation to come under control. So, it will peak, but when you sustain it for a longer period, it will come down.” The Northern Army Commander described the attacks on the Army and paramilitary camps as activities of a frustrated enemy who is not able to face the Indian Army on the border. He said, “In the hinterland like Udhampur or Sunjuwan, the action will be to strengthen security.”