We are committed to sustain normalcy and peace in J-K: Northern Army commander Y K Joshi

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Udhampur, Jun 2 (PTI) The security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has by and large been peaceful and the Army is committed to ensure that the civil administration operates in a fear-free environment, Northern Army commander Lieutenant General Y K Joshi has said.

Lt Gen Joshi, who is a Kargil war hero, said synergised, ethical and precision operations by security forces have dealt a severe blow to the 'tanzeems' (terrorist groups), the terror network operating in the union territory and their leadership, both local and foreign.

'The security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has by and large been peaceful, barring a few incidents, where terrorists in order to vent their frustration have targeted soft and vulnerable parts of the citizenry,' the commander told PTI in an interview.

'The 'tanzeems' have been left rudderless without effective leadership and there is a dearth of arms, ammunition and other war-like stores, especially automatic weapons,' he said.

The result is, terrorists are resorting to low-scale standoff attacks and avoiding direct gunbattles, Lt Gen Joshi said.

Terrorists 'are avoiding a pitched battle when contact is established with security forces', he said.

Lt Gen Joshi said that recruitment of local youths by terror groups has more or less been restricted and is in only three districts of south Kashmir.

'There has been a perceptible difference within the Kashmir Valley where North Kashmir has started to savour the benefits of peace', he said.

Another initiative of security forces, which has begun to yield results is the surrender of local terrorists, indicative that there is a drastic loss of traction amongst the youth who are being forced to take up arms, the commander said.

'We are committed to sustain normalcy and peace in Jammu and Kashmir, allowing the civil administration to operate in a 'fear-free' environment,' he said.

Lt Gen Joshi also said that the intensity of counter-terrorist operations will persist during the coming months.

The lieutenant general said the residual strength of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir is currently estimated to be around 200 and added that while they are operating on fringes of society, their capability of inflicting damage and causing loss to life and property cannot be ruled out totally.

He said that alongside kinetic operations, positive engagement of youth and their empowerment through knowledge building and bringing opportunities to their door steps continue to be key result areas for ‘Operational Sadbhavana’ initiatives.

'Credit is due to the awaam (people) too for their cooperation to the security forces. The role of parents has been particularly valuable in discouraging the youth from joining the terrorist ranks,' the northern Army commander said. PTI AB ANB ANB

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