Around 300 terrorists are present in Jammu and Kashmir, while 160 others are waiting on the launchpads for an opportunity to sneak into this side from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan, a top army commander said on Tuesday.
However, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi said the security situation in the Union territory has undergone a major change after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and terrorist activities have been controlled to a large extent.
"Around 300 terrorists are present in length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir but we are making sure they are not able to carry out any action," the army commander told reporters on the sidelines of the platinum jubilee of the historic 'Poonch Link-up Day' in Poonch.
The platinum jubilee of Poonch Link-Up Day, marking the 'Operation Easy' conducted by Indian Army in 1948 to defend the border district from Pakistani raiders, was celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervour by the people of Poonch and the Army.
Asked about the number of terrorists present on the launch pads in Pakistan, Lt Gen Dwivedi said around 160 terrorists are present across the Line of Control -- 130 in north of Pir Panchal (Kashmir valley) and 30 in south of Pir Panchal.
"As per our data, 82 Pakistani terrorists and 53 local terrorists are active in the hinterland, while the area of the concern is the criminal activities of 170 others who are not identified," he said.
Reacting to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's recent statement hinting at retrieving Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Lt Gen Dwivedi said a parliamentary resolution exists on the subject, therefore it is nothing new.
"As far as the Indian Army is concerned, it will carry out any order given by the Government of India. We are always ready for it," he said.
Addressing an infantry day function in Srinagar on October 27, the defence minister had said people of PoK are subjected to human rights violations and Pakistan has to pay a price for it. He said the Indian government is committed to implementing the 1994 resolution passed in the Parliament about retrieving the part of Kashmir ”under illegal occupation of Pakistan”.
On the security situation in Kashmir, the army commander said it has undergone a major change after the abrogation of Article 370 and the civil administration is doing a great job to ensure peace and development and making sure terrorism is put on back seat.
"All the trend lines which were there, are coming down (post abrogation of Article 370), to the extent, and today peace and development has taken the central stage and there is a great space to meet the people's aspirations. The civil administration is doing a great job in occupying that space and making sure that terrorism is put on a back seat," he said.
Asked whether the terrorism has been controlled, he said, "Yes, to a large extent."
However, he denounced the targeted and selective killings and said it shows the frustration of Pakistan.
"The people from outside, the neighbouring country, are adopting other means like smuggling pistols, grenades and drugs to carry out minor actions -- targeting innocent and unarmed persons who have come here to earn their livelihood and support the Kashmiris," he said.
The army commander said it is very sad that such incidents are taking place but police, security forces and the civilians have come together and decided that they will not allow such acts to happen.
"Whatever is happening is very less and efforts are on to further reduce such types of incidents. Anyone who indulges in such types of misdeeds is getting appropriate responses," Lt Gen Dwivedi said.
Referring to Pakistan, he said when nothing was achieved by sending big weapons and raising the Kashmir issue at UN, OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and with other countries, they went for such type of actions like targeting innocents and sending small weapons and drugs.
"Drugs worth Rs 45 lakh were seized in Baramulla (north Kashmir) along with other weapons and grenades. Likewise, in other border areas, huge cache of drugs are being seized. Terrorists are being killed but they say you are killing smugglers, which means they admit that they are sending drugs. It is very wrong on part of Pakistan," he said.