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Army needs to stay in Kashmir: Gen. Bikram Singh
Monday January 13, 2014 5:16 PM, IANS

The Indian Army needs to stay in Jammu and Kashmir "under the present circumstances", a top military commander said Monday.

"Armed forces need to stay on in Kashmir under the present circumstances. We should wait for conditions to improve before making changes to the national strategy regarding the army deployment in Jammu and Kashmir," Indian Army chief General Singh said at the annual press conference here. Army Day is celebrated on Jan 15.

He added: "There is zero tolerance towards human rights violation... Our rules of engagement are based on those followed by a civilised society."

On Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), General Bikram Singh said: "The military viewpoint is that we have to wait for some time to monitor the situation. A decision will be taken only after that."

On reports of slow progress in road construction along the India-China border, the army chief said that the government was planning to outsource some of this work.

He stressed that the army will fire at any militant who crosses the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

His comments came as reports in the Pakistani media blamed India of violating the ceasefire and firing at a civilian near the LoC.

"Attempts are on to ensure ceasefire agreements are adhered to by both sides. It is our endeavour to control it, not escalate it," the general assured.

He, however, quickly added that "if rules are followed by our neighbours, we follow them too. If rules are broken, we won't sit on it, we will break them too".

Reports quoting Pakistani military sources said one civilian was injured in firing by Indian troops near the LoC Saturday.

General Bikram Singh added the ceasefire violations have been to aid infiltration of militants from Pakistan.

He also noted that the frequency of ceasefire violations have come down remarkably ever since the meeting of the DGMOs (Directors General Military Operations) of the two countries last December 2013.

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