New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir's top Army commander has said the parameters for determining success in counter-insurgency operations have not kept pace with the changing environment, leading to "confusion" in the minds of the personnel.
In his demi-official letter written to all formation commanders in the state, Northern Army commander Lt Gen D S Hooda stressed that his men follow a "nuanced approach" which "balances local aspirations" while fighting the proxy war in the state.
"... Conduct or prosecution of ops (operations) needs to change in sync with the environment prevailing.
"Unfortunately, our metrics for determining success in CI ops (counter-insurgency operations) have not kept pace with the changing environment, and this too has contributed to some confusion in our minds"," he said in his letter which was written a few days after last month's killing of two civilians by the Army in central Kashmir.
In the letter, Lt Gen Hooda said "today, all of us in Northern Command are confronted with unique challenges, and the manner in which we face them will determine not only how the nation views its Army but more importantly, how we view ourselves".
With immense courage and sacrifice, Army officers and men have brought the proxy war in the state under control, he said but cautioned that "this peace remains fragile."
"The situation today is more demanding than the past when terrorist kills were the most important indicator in gauging our achievements.
"A more nuanced approach, which balances local aspirations with controlling terrorist violence, is to be adopted. While in theory this aspect is largely understood, its application on ground needs further refinement.
The top Army officer said the Army is deployed in the state to do a job and "we will do it to the best of its ability."
"Mistakes will happen. Let me assure you that I have a clear understanding of the difficulties under which we operate and that nobody will be unfairly harmed. This clear message must go out to all units," he said.
He also asked his officers and men to "not fall prey" to print, electronic and social media opinions.