BJP`s Ekta Yatra part of `political wranglings`: Army Chief

Army chief General V K Singh on Thursday said his service was not concerned with such "political games".

New Delhi: Dismissing BJP`s flag-hoisting
programme in Srinagar`s Lal Chowk area as "political
wranglings", Army chief General V K Singh on Thursday said his
service was not concerned with such "political games".

"These are political wranglings, political games which
don`t concern the Army. There has been a lot of noise about
the issue," he said in an interview with a TV channel.

The Army chief was replying to queries related to BJP
youth wing`s programme to hoist national flag at Lal Chowk
area in Srinagar on Republic Day this year.

As the Unified Command Headquarters functions from the
state, Army`s job was to see that the situation remains under
control there.

On the prevailing security situation in Jammu and
Kashmir, Singh said though the scenario has improved, there
was no question of withdrawing Army troops from there.

"The day the 42 terror camps on the other side are
wound up and Pakistan stops its proxy war, that would be the
time to withdraw. At the moment, we don`t think there is a
need for troop reductions," the Army chief said.

"There should be reduction in Central paramilitary
Forces to reduce the visibility factor," he added.

Pointing out that it was impossible for terror camps
to function without the support of elements in Pakistan,
Singh said it was in India`s diplomatic interest that a
dialogue process with Pakistan was kept active.

"If fundamentalists gain power in Pakistan, it is bad
for both countries," he said.

Noting that the army was not an obstacle to political
endeavours in the state, Singh said, "We must look very
closely at the ideology being preached in the Kashmir valley.

What are we doing to counter this ideology. Are the mainstream
political parties doing anything about it."

On the achievements of the Army in the state, Singh
said "militarily, we have achieved a great deal. Rural areas
didn`t erupt" during the stone-pelting protests in the urban
areas.

Asked about the recent scams that have hit the Army,
he said, "I have to ensure that the backbone of the army is
stiffened. It had become flexible. We have told our rank and
file that we will spare nobody -- whether you are a sepoy or a
general, nobody will be spared if you do wrong."

On the threat from China, Singh said, "things are not
as alarming as people think. China does nothing in a hurry.

Their focus right now is on economics. If their intentions
change, it will show. Please remember, we are no longer in
1962. We are more than confident of being able to match them
where we want to."

PTI

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