Nowshera (LoC): The ISIS outfit does not have “very large footprint” in Jammu and Kashmir but care needs to be taken to ensure it does not make inroads, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen D S Hooda said on Saturday and advocated an “Intelligence Operation” to prevent spreading of its ideology.
Islamic State has been talking about South Asia and India region but “right now we don’t see a very large footprint of Islamic State in Jammu and Kashmir. But I think we have to be careful,” the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GoC-in-C) told reporters here while responding to a question.
“We need to study the situation properly (with regard to ISIS). We need to make sure that Islamic State does not make inroads. So it is more of an ‘intelligence operation’ that we need to look at and make sure this ideology of Islamic State is not allowed to spread in India,” he added.
He was replying to a question about footprints of ISIS in J&K and its spread in India.
When referred to a threat issued by ISIS that it would launch its operations in J&K, Lt Gen Hooda said: “We need to study the situation properly. We need to make sure that they do not make inroads.”
The army commander played down the threat issued by Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohammed Sayeed about more attacks on the Indian soil by terming them as “nothing new”.
“See we know that there is a threat from Lashkar. They have been talking about it every time. So frankly I don’t find anything new unless there is some kind of control on his activities by the Pakistan State and the Pakistan government. Otherwise we see it as part of his normal routine and he keeps on talking about it,” Lt Gen Hooda said.
With regard to infiltration, he said a “better fence” is coming up along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan which will be equipped with better sensors and other equipments.
“It is something (cross border infiltration) that we deal with, year in and year out, and it is nothing new for us. As the snow melts, our measures are in place. You are aware we are trying to build a better fence now so that with good sensors and equipments and have a much more credible counter infiltration posture,” he said.
“We have in the recent past moved additional troops along the LoC and I think we are confident of how our posture is,” the top commander said.
Lt Gen Hooda said the army is taking steps to deal with the threat posed by use of Improvised Explosive Devices.
“IED threat is there everywhere. It is a credible threat and in the Mendhar area (of J&K), in the last three-four months, five to six IEDs have been recovered. We are on our guard and we know what has to be done,” the Northern Army Commander said.
He said even though security of vital installations is a cause of concern, there is no credible threat of a Pathankot-type attack.
“There is no specific information, but we have to be worried about our vital installations and make sure that security is ok,” he said.
Asked whether the army had any plans to avert the damage caused by snow avalanches in Siachen Glacier area like the death of 10 soldiers earlier this week, he said, “It was actually an ice slab that came on the post…These are natural calamities. So as much as we try, we have a good system of avalanche warnings and that is the time we actually stop all movement whenever the warning comes. But there are some times and occasions….”
“Somehow these are the forces of nature we cannot control, but you know rescue measures rescue teams, rescue dogs equipment is all in place,” he said.
On Pakistan’s offer of help after 10 Indian soldiers were buried in avalanche snow at Siachen, Lt Gen Hooda said the Indian army did not reject it but instead thanked Pakistan for extending the help.
“It was not rejected. Pakistanis did make an offer and we have thanked them for the offer. But frankly speaking, everything was in place as far as we were concerned, the rescue teams, the people who are to do the rescue, the equipments and our own familiarity with our own terrain and we just thought that it was not necessary to take assistance.
“I won’t use the word rejected but we thanked them for the offer,” the Army Commander said.
To a question regarding the arrest of men in uniform for allegedly spying for Pakistan’s ISI, Lt Gen Hooda said, “…yes there have been some people who have been in uniform and have been arrested. It is an attempt which is being made by Pakistan. Again I am saying that it is not something new. They always try to get hold of some people in uniform and we have to be careful about that.”
Replying to a question regarding “profiling” being done in the Kashmir valley, he said army was not involved in any “profiling” and it was a routine exercise being carried out by the police and the state government.
“I think the police and the state government can answer better this… But every time you want to gather some information, my sense is don’t give it a twist of some racial profile or something,” he said.