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Army looks to cut troops deployed on internal security duty in NE region

Army looks to cut troops deployed on internal security duty in NE region
New Delhi, Jan 12 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/12/2021 12:06:46 PM IST

The Army is planning to gradually reduce the number of troops deployed for internal security duties in the North East, but is not contemplating moving soldiers out of Jammu and Kashmir because of the prevailing terror situation in the Union Territory, Army chief General M.M. Naravane said Tuesday.

Addressing the media ahead of Army Day on 15 January, General Naravane said that while terror continues unabated in Jammu & Kashmir, the security situation in the North East has improved manifold. As a result, the Army has already pulled out one of its brigades from the region and now plans to move out another one or two in the near future, reports The Print.

With this, the Army will be able to concentrate on its primary duty of conventional war fighting, he said.

“As far as internal security duties are concerned, terror continues unabated in J&K, although the situation in the hinterland has improved somewhat. We have not yet reached a level where we can contemplate moving troops out of the UT of J&K,” he said.

He added that the security situation in the NorthEast has improved. Now, concerns remain only in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh. 

In Nagaland, the Army chief said he hopes the NSCN (Khaplang), which was not part of the ceasefire agreement, will rejoin the ceasefire process with the surrender of its top leadership, making the state violence-free again.

He added that there is no violence in Mizoram, only one or two groups are involved in Manipur, and most of Assam is quiet.

This is not the first time that the Army chief has spoken about withdrawing troops from the Northeast.

In January 2020, while interacting with a small group of journalists, he said the region was going through a transitional phase and the Army had drawn up a plan to increasingly withdraw troops deployed there for counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.

He had then said two battalions of troops, or around 2,000 soldiers, have already been withdrawn from the North East and the same could be replicated in Kashmir in the future given that the long-term focus of the Army remains conventional war-fighting, as against the short-term and immediate goals of being involved in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.

 

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