Increased terror encounters sign of better intelligence: Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, on Friday attributed the increased terrorist encounters in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to enhanced intelligence networks and allayed fears of an increased problem in the valley.

“…In the last three days we’ve neutralised two bids of infiltration. The increase in encounters only goes on to show that our intelligence has become better and that our counter-intelligence systems are now more tight,” Parrikar said, even as an encounter was on in Sopore on Friday.

As Parrikar spoke, an Army officer from Kashmir told TOI that one terrorist had been killed in the Sopore, some 35-km north west of Srinagar. Parrikar also pointed out that terrorist activity — especially infiltration bids — is generally high in the months before the winter sets in. The Sopore operation was terminated by about 1.30 PM and two terrorists were killed.

He, however, said that the overall annual statistics do not indicate to any enhanced problem in the valley. “From a situation where one soldier was martyred for every terrorist, today we take down 4.3 to 4.4 terrorist for every soldier we lose. The situation has improved. But that said, I would want no soldier lost,” he added.

Terming the issue of Chinese intrusion an “annual affair,” Parrikar said: “…the transgression area for both the countries is an issue. But overall the situation has reduced compared to earlier.”

“There has been an increased senior (but local) commander-level interaction points on the (China) border, which has helped resolve a lot of issues. But you must understand that every time they come in, we’ve pushed them back and then spoken,” he said, after he witnessed the inaugural flight of the indigenous HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft developed by HAL.

Parrikar, who gave updates on the various acquisitions, indigenous developments and other strategic developments, said:

“One must understand that air defence, or offence is a doctrine. Several independent projects add to this ability.”

He said that the government is keen on “adding more teeth to the armed forces, so that they can catch ‘them’ by the neck rather than wag the tail.”

Elaborating on one such move, he said that the ministry is awaiting a report from a committee headed by a Lieutenant General rank officer on creating joint commands. “India has 17 commands as of today, while China has only six. Do we require so many commands or can this be streamlined by creating joint commands. Once the committee submits its report, we will analyse and decide,” he said.

He reiterated that the deal to import the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) Rafale and other projects like the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) are moving ahead on expected lines.

“The final decision on Rafale will happen soon…On the FGFA, there are some two points of disagreement and they will be resolved soon,” he said.

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