'30,000 troops withdrawn from Kashmir'

Antony says the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved

'30,000 troops withdrawn from Kashmir'


Defence Minister AK Antony

“Whenever we feel that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved we have withdrawn troops. Last year, two divisions (30,000 troops) were withdrawn as the situation had improved,” Antony told reporters here.

“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 added.

The Defence Minister was speaking on the sidelines of a seminar organised by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies on 'Internal Security: Duties and obligations in upholding Human Rights'.

Home Minister P Chidambaram has been seeking transfer of law and order responsibility to the state police with the incidence of violence, both against civilians and security forces, lowest in 2009.

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 Area Act along with the Kashmir Valley in July 1990 and the security forces were given special powers under Armed Forces Special Powers Act around the same time.
The two districts have a 200-km Line of Control with Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

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