23 November 2017 07:17 AM

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JEHANGIR ALI | 5 JANUARY, 2017

First Stop JK For New Army Chief


SRINAGAR: Amid rising incidents of infiltration and violence in the Valley, Gen. Bipin Rawat has arrived in Jammu and Kashmir today on his first trip to the State after taking over as the chief of the Indian Army.

Gen Rawat, who took over as the chief of the Army from Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag last week, is likely to meet the top commanders of the Army's northern command. He is also likely to visit the Army's Srinagar-based Chinar corps.

"Presently, he is meeting officers at the Northern Command. Whatever his engagements will be, we will share with the media," a Srinagar-based defence spokesperson told The Citizen.

The visit of Gen Rawat, who superseded two senior most officers of the Army, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Lt Gen P M Hariz, comes at a time when the state has witnessed rising incidents of infiltration and insurgency-related violence.

According to officials, the year gone by has been one of the bloodiest for the armed forces involved in counter-insurgency operations in the state in the last eight years with 87 security forces personnel killed in militancy-related incidents.

Official data suggests that 165 militants were also killed in 2016, which is the highest in the last six years. 90 security forces personnel were killed in the state in 2008 following which the fatalities registered a declining trend, touching a low of 41 in 2015.

The Army has suffered some of the worst casualties in the last year in Valley with 20 Army soldiers killed in the Uri attack and two Army captains and one para commando killed in the gunfight in the over-two-day long siege at Pampore.

After the phenomenon of 'new insurgency' started gaining ground, the Army has also faced new challenges in counter-insurgency operations in the Valley with locals coming to the rescue of militants trapped in encounters, which has led to at least three civilian killings last year.

Speaking in New Delhi yesterday, Gen Rawat spoke about the rising incidents of violence in the state, saying that India will give "hard" response to terror activities that will compel Pakistan to completely rethink its strategy on supporting insurgency and terrorism.

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