Indian Army’s outgoing GoC 15 Corps Lt Gen D P Pandey said he had come with a ‘philosophy of breaking cycle of violence in Kashmir’ and did very well on this front. In the last three decades, it’s the first time the number of active terrorists has gone below 200, and today it’s 130-140, said Lt Gen D P Pandey, Outgoing GoC 15 Corps.
Talking to reporters at the Army’s 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar, the Commander said that the wrong terminology was used, like “Kashmir problem.” “The fact remains that there was a problem in Kashmir that we, along with the people and cross-section of society, have largely been able to overcome. Today, peace has started to become a permanent feature. Though some, rather very few people won’t be happy with the peaceful atmosphere, and they will keep on trying new methods to disrupt it, there will always be joint countermeasures to defeat such elements,” he said.
He said, “We worked on two fronts: one to neutralize terrorists and ensure surrenders in live encounters and prevent youth from joining terror ranks.” The Commander said in over a year, 100 youth were saved from joining terrorism, which he said was a big achievement.
I came here with a “philosophy of breaking the cycle of violence” in Kashmir and succeeded to a large extent.” But it was nothing unique but continued what his predecessors did in the past. However, he said this time, the media had covered freely what the Army was doing, and it came to the notice of the general public.
The GoC said, be it Rashtriya Riffles in the hinterland or the soldiers on the LoC, both were an intimate part of the Kashmiri society. “Both faced challenges together and succeeded,” he said.
About the achievements, he said that on the one hand, they kept killing terrorists that too top commanders while ensuring surrenders during live encounters, and on the other, efforts were made to ensure youth are prevented from picking up arms.
“In over a year, some 100 youth who had joined terrorism or were about to join were brought back to live a peaceful life. This indeed is my achievement. But, rest, carrying out operations against terrorists needs to be counted,” GoC Pandey said.
He said that the human intelligence grid had become stronger people now in Kashmir don’t want terrorists around them today, Jammu and Kashmir police received more human intelligence than technical intelligence and terrorists, including Over Ground Workers, are being isolated by none other than the society itself.
“My endeavour had been that no mother, sister or daughter should cry in pain for just somebody picking up arms and getting killed in encounters,” the outgoing GoC 15 Corps added.
About American weapons, including steel-piercing weapons entering Kashmir, General said that some ammunition is found here which was used in Afghanistan, but the number is very less, and countermeasures through drills, etc., were already put in place to meet such challenges. “Yes, some American weapons have entered Kashmir, but it’s not a challenge anymore….,” he said.
Hybrid terrorists were a challenge some nine months ago, but not now. “It was difficult early to identify a government servant, a shopkeeper or a student aged 15 or 16 indulging in militant activities. But society is so vibrant, and such people are being identified instantly. Parents too are keeping a close watch on the children so that they don’t tread a wrong path,” he said.
He said it was never a challenge for the Army on the ceasefire pact and its benefits, but people on either side of the fence used to suffer. “Today, people on both sides of the border live a peaceful life which is a good gesture,” he said.
We have worked and reached out to people and stopped recruitment which is a big achievement, and in the future, we must keep this peace intact, which will be a challenge.