AFSPA an `enabling` provision, not `arbitrary`: Army Chief

Army Chief Gen VK Singh also said there have been more infiltration attempts into J&K in the last two months.

Last Updated: Sep 18, 2010, 13:51 PM IST

Chennai: The Army on Saturday expressed the hope that government will take a "correct" decision on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which it maintained was an "enabling provision" that is not "arbitrary".

In the midst of a raging debate on the application of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, Army Chief Gen VK Singh said there were "different" opinions on the issue and it was in
deliberation with the government.

"The question is under deliberation with the government. Everybody has a different opinion about it and I think our leadership is considering it in all aspects. It is an
enabling provision.

"It is not something which is arbitrary and I think the government will take a correct on what is to be done about it," he told reporters here on the sidelines of a function at
the Officers Training Academy (OTA) here.

Asked if the AFSPA breached any contemporary international convention, Gen Singh said "No. The Supreme Court has very clearly held that the provisions of the AFSPA
are neither arbitrary nor are they against the Constitution of India."

The Army has given its views on the issue to the government which he said will take the "correct decision".

"We have told the Ministry of Defence whatever the Army has to say and the matter is under the consideration of the government," he added.

Gen Singh, who was here to review the Passing Out Parade at the Officers Training Academy, also said there have been more infiltration attempts into Jammu and Kashmir in the last two months and "some method" in Pakistan trying to exploit the unrest in the border state.

"Not because of tension. It is a coincidence that there have been more infiltration attempts. There can be a linkage, some method in Pakistan trying to exploit the
situation in Kashmir," he said when asked if the infiltration attempts have gone up because of the current unrest in the Valley.

"In the last two months approximately from the time this agitation started in Kashmir infiltration levels have increased. We have seen more incidents. Overall, there has
been decrease in violence, but in the last two months from the time this agitation started in Kashmir infiltration levels have increased.

"Attempts have increased, the number of terrorists killed have increased and we are watching it very carefully."

Yesterday India asked Pakistan to take effective action against infiltration from across the LoC and dismantle terror infrastructure as it is people of Jammu and Kashmir who
suffered its consequences.

Hitting back at Pakistan for asking India to "exercise restraint" in Kashmir, New Delhi had also told Islamabad to take effective action against infiltration.

On reports about Chinese military presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the Army Chief said it did not cause concern at the moment.

"We are watching it. If it becomes a matter of concern, we will have to go back to the government for action required to be taken."

PTI