The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Army plots replay of Sarp Vinash

New Delhi, Aug. 19: Army units to the south and the north of the Pir Panjal range, the ridgeline between the Valley and south Kashmir, have manoeuvred into positions that signal another counter-insurgency operation in the wake of Operation Sarp Vinash earlier this year.

The army chief, General .C. Vij, is on a tour of forward posts near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and is expected to return to Delhi tomorrow.

Defence ministry sources said the army was continuing with its counter-insurgency drive on both sides of the Pir Panjal.

Operation Sarp Vinash, which was said to be the biggest single counter-insurgency operation in Kashmir, was officially conducted between April 20 and May 18 this year.

Despite the controversy about its results, army sources say it has driven insurgents to other areas and “mopping up” operations have shifted from the vicinity of Hilkaka, which was a major militant base, further up the Pir Panjal. “Such operations are a continuing process. We have not deployed additional troops,” the sources said.

However, there have been signs of an increased military presence probably with a beefing up by units drawn in from other areas in Jammu and Kashmir along with air logistics support.

In the wake of Operation Sarp Vinash, army engineers have begun putting up a fence running parallel to the LoC. Part of General Vij’s tour has involved monitoring the work on the fence.

Any increase in the number of troops close to the LoC is watched carefully, nationally and internationally, and the army is sensitive to the possibility that such movement may be misconstrued across the border.

In the weeks leading to the winter that sets in early in the high reaches, the army uses the time to turn around units and gain as much ground in counter-insurgency operations as possible.

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