Home India News Antony to visit Kashmir Tuesday to review security

Antony to visit Kashmir Tuesday to review security


New Delhi : A month after announcing that 30,000 Indian Army troops had been withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Minister A.K. Antony will Tuesday visit the state to review the security situation in the wake of a daring fidayeen attack in Srinagar that saw two militants holed up in a hotel for over 22 hours before they were finally killed.

“Antony will visit forward areas in Jammu region and later address a meeting at the Unified Headquarters to be attended by the representatives of various forces including the state police and Central Para Military Forces,” a defence spokesperson said Monday.

Antony will be accompanied by Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and senior defence ministry officials.

In December 2009, Antony had announced that nearly 30,000 Indian Army soldiers have been withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir in the last one year and more troops will be withdrawn if the situation improves.

“Whenever we feel the situation has improved or is improving we will further reduce the visibility and presence of the army in the state… it is because of the presence of the army that we have been able to counter terrorism in the state,” Antony had added.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram has been seeking transfer of law and order responsibilities to the state police with the incidence of violence, both against civilians and security forces, being the lowest in 2009 since the Islamist insurgency began two decades ago.

The Indian Army has begun withdrawing troops from the Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir in a move seen as a confidence building measure to get Kashmiri separatists, especially the hardliners, on board for talks.

The twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch were brought under the Disturbed Areas Act along with the Kashmir Valley in July 1990 and the security forces were given sweeping powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act around the same time.

The two districts lie along a 200-km-stretch of the Line of Control with Pakistan-administered Kashmir.