Antony interacts with women army officers in Baramulla on Wednesday. (PTI)
New Delhi, June 18: The army will not send additional troops to Kashmir, where elections are due later this year, despite anticipation of an upsurge in militant violence.
Defence minister A.K. Antony, who toured Kashmir for two days, told the state administration that he was not in favour of increasing deployment of the army.
If Antonys view holds, this years poll would mark a departure from previous elections.
Elections in Kashmir in the last two decades have been held under the shadow of the gun.
The Centre also does not want to further antagonise state-level political outfits, among them the Congress partner Peoples Democratic Party, which has demanded de-induction of troops from the state.
Antony chairs a committee appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to study the feasibility of reducing troops in Jammu and Kashmir.
Intelligence reports collated by the Centre also point to a possible drop in infiltration across the Line of Control.
Figures available for May suggest that there have been between 35 and 40 attempts of which less than nine have succeeded.
In May last year, these reports suggested, there were between 60 and 65 attempts of which around 40 were successful.
Exact figures of the total number of troops in Kashmir are not available but the state is covered by three large corps, employed in both counter-insurgency and in guarding the LoC.
In addition, there are personnel from the Rashtriya Rifles that is officered by the army.
In the Kashmir Valley, the Central Reserve Police Force is the main agency for counter-insurgency operations.
A senior defence ministry source said Antony was given an assessment of the security situation, including an appreciation of preparations for the polls.
He was told that as the elections — likely in October and November after Ramazan — get closer, there would be efforts by militants to disrupt the vote. The rebels could then use the low turnout for their propaganda.
Antony was accompanied by the army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, and defence secretary Vijay Singh.