SRINAGAR: The Army on Friday said the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) and other sectors was a positive move and a step in the right direction, but security forces will approach the situation with cautious optimism.
Interacting with a selected group of journalists at the Army’s Sharifabad headquarters in Budgam district, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Kilo Force, Major General H S Sahi said, “It (ceasefire agreement) is indeed a very positive step, a step in the right direction but we have to approach it with very cautious optimism.”
“It is indeed a very positive step, a step in the right direction, but as security forces personnel, we have to approach with very, very cautious optimism,” Sahi said.
He said such agreements were reached in the past as well, but certain elements derailed them.
“We would like it to happen the way the understanding has been reached. These things were worked in the past also, but because of certain elements and powers at play, they could not be taken to a logical conclusion. If implemented by both the sides, this will be a way forward. So, it is a very proactive step,” he said.
The GoC expressed hope that the agreement would lead to “further steps”.
“We hope that whatever will happen will further lead to some negotiations at various levels so that we take it forward and not do a repeat of what they (Pakistan) are doing all along,” said Sahi while addressing a press conference in Srinagar.
He said the other steps will follow only when there is a semblance of peace on the LoC.
“All activities like infiltration or arms being sent across the border must stop in case the understanding has to be earnestly implemented,” he added.
“Our establishment of the security grid, the infiltration grid on the LoC and the grid thereafter in the immediate hinterland, has been calibrated and we are prepared. We have also started moving up to forward areas to carry out reconnaissance and also to see for ourselves which are the areas which we can move to immediately,” said Sahi.
Asked about the impact of the ceasefire agreement on the infiltration, Major General Sahi expressed hope that the agreement would manifest on the ground.
“The counter-infiltration grid is absolutely intact. The ceasefire violations are basically meant to assist the militants to sneak across. We hope that in the spirit of the understanding of the agreement, it manifests on the ground in the coming days,” he said.
On a question about the activities on the launchpads across the LoC, the GoC said there are reports of some “low-scale” activities taking place.
“On our side, the movement has started towards the reception areas. So far, there are no credible, confirmed inputs (about the movement of militants across the LoC) but we are continuously monitoring the situation,” he said.
The number of militants in the Kashmir valley was about 210-215, out of which about 140 are in south Kashmir and 60-65 are in north Kashmir, said Sahi.
“Out of these, 18-20 are locals. These are rough estimates. It is a matter of concern, but it does not bother us too much as we have the capability to address all their activities,” he said.
However, he added that there was no militant active in north Kashmir from Hizbul Mujahideen and that most of the militants belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
He said the security forces were geared up for the summer months to face the challenges at both the LoC and the hinterland.
“There are multiple challenges, but we are capable enough to deal with those. Lots of people are expected to visit Kashmir in the summer months. The peaceful environment in the valley will act as a catalyst to attract more tourists,” said Sahi while addressing in a press conference.