Peace is now permanent in Kashmir Valley, says senior Army official

Lieutenant General D.P. Pandey, the outgoing General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the strategic Srinagar-based 15 Corps, has questioned the use of the term “Kashmir problem”, saying the problem in Kashmir has been largely overcome.

“’Kashmir problem’ is a wrong terminology. There was a problem in Kashmir, which we along with the people and a cross section of society, have largely been able to overcome. Peace has started to become a permanent feature,” Lt. Gen. Pandey said on Thursday, during an interaction at the 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar.

The Army officer said there would be a few people who would not be happy with the peaceful atmosphere and would keep employing new methods to disrupt it. “However, joint counter measures will defeat such elements,” Lt. Gen. Pandey said.

The GoC security system and measures have been taken to foil any plans to disrupt the Amarnath yatra but “threat perception remains”, he stated.

The officer said the security forces have succeeded in “breaking the cycle of violence in Kashmir”. “We have done well on this front,” Lt. Gen. Pandey said.

The top official said that efforts were undertaken to dissuade the youth from taking to arms. He said the past 12 months saw around 230 youth, who had either joined militancy or were about to join, being brought back to live a peaceful life. 

“This indeed is my achievement. My endeavour had been that no mother, sister or daughter should cry in pain for just somebody taking to arms and getting killed in encounters,” he said.

Earlier it had been difficult to identify a government servant, a shopkeeper or a student who may be indulging in militancy but such people were being tracked quickly now, the official said. “Parents too are keeping a close watch on the children so that they don’t tread the wrong path,” he added.

Lt. Gen. Pandey also flagged the challenge of finding weapons made in America in Kashmir of late.

“It was not a challenge as counter measures through drills and other measures were already put in place to meet such challenges,” he added.

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