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The Indian army is ready, says General Kapoor

Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar | January 31, 2009 22:28 IST

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Army chief General Deepak Kapoor on Saturday reiterated that the country's army was 'ready to act in the manner the political leadership wanted it to'.

General Kapoor, who reached Srinagar [Images] on Saturday morning and visited the forward areas along the Line of Control [Images] in Kashmir to assess the situation, also met senior army officers.

Addressing a news conference at the headquarters of the army's 15 corps, General Kapoor said, "The military acts or reacts in a manner the country's political leadership wants it to."

The army chief acknowledged that tensions between India and Pakistan had been running high in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks [Images] and some extra movement of troops had also been noted across the border in Pakistan.

"The tensions have come down with the passage of time," he said.

Kapoor added that militants could not infiltrate into the Valley, as the mountain passes were snow-bound in the winter, but could sneak in from south of the Pir Panjal mountains.

"As the snow starts melting, the possibility of a rise in infiltration levels cannot be ruled out. The security forces are taking precautions to check infiltration through a three-tier mechanism," he explained.

He informed that 700 to 800 militants were still active in the state, of which 45 to 50 per cent were foreigners.

"In the last two years, there has been marked improvement in the security situation of the state," claimed the army chief.

General Kapoor pointed out that the high voter turnout of 61 percent in the recent state elections, which was higher than the national average, was a result of the improved security situation in the state.

Speaking on the possibility of the armymen deployed in the Valley returning to their barracks, he said, "The military is there to perform a job and a purpose. Once the situation becomes peaceful, we would be more than happy to return to the barracks".

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