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Indian army fears impact of Afghan turbulence in Kashmir

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Srinagar, India, March 18, IRNA -- Noting that turbulence in Afghanistan and Pakistan will have an impact on the situation in Kashmir, Indian Army said 700 militants were waiting at various launch pads to infiltrate into the strife torn state.

General Officer Command (GOC) of Army's strategic Srinagar based 15 Corps Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain on Thursday said 600-700 militants were waiting to cross into Kashmir from Pakistan-controlled part of the state and revoking Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) at this juncture would mean 'compromising' its operational capabilities.

'It is very difficult to put the exact number of militants who are waiting to sneak into the Kashmir Valley, but we have information that 600-700 militants are waiting at different launching pads on other side of the LoC,' Hasnain told reporters at Pattan town on the sidelines of a ceremony.

Replying to a question about impact on Kashmir after the US forces withdraw from Afghanistan Lt Gen Hasnain said, 'India, Kashmir and Pakistan are all at the peripheries of the problem area of Afghanistan. So if peace does not exist in Afghanistan and there is turbulence in Pakistan, obviously there will be turbulence around us.'

Divulging details of the army's preparedness to stop infiltration, Hasnain said the counter-infiltration grid is very strong with latest surveillance devices.

'Any attempt by the militants to infiltrate will be prevented,' he said.

The army has in place a three-tier security grid with Israel-made sophisticated equipment.

On the demands of withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act which give sweeping powers to army in Kashmir, he said, 'We feel that by revoking special legal provisions, which are in place here, definitely our operational capabilities will be compromised.'

He said Army's 'line of thinking' about the revocation of AFSPA has already been conveyed many times to the government.

He however allayed fear of the State government's rehabilitation policy for militants desirous of returning home from the other side of Kashmir.

He said the state government has recently asked for Army's opinion about 'certain individuals' who want to come back from Pak held Kashmir under the state government's rehabilitation policy.

'We have given them to our agencies who are certifying, who are checking up on this,' he said.

'I do not think it is a major security risk as long as the procedures required to ensure that these people have been certified not to be dangerous are followed,' Hasnian said.

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