A security review last week on Jammu and Kashmir led the government to order the withdrawal of 10,000 troops from the union territory, a move that is seen as part of the Centre’s outreach to the Kashmir valley. The review was ordered by the Home Minister Amit Shah when he was still recuperating in a Gurugram hospital earlier this month.
The review, and the withdrawal of about100 companies of central security forces, comes around the time that the government has spotlighted development activities and appointedsenior politician Manoj Sinhaas Lieutenant Governor of the centrally-administered territory.
An official underscored that the timing of the two developments, one after another, was not a coincidence, but designed to message people that the government was willing to address their concerns.
One view has been that far too many security personnel are deployed in the union territory to prevent about 200 hardcore terrorists trained across the border from carrying out strikes.
At last week’s security review, there was some acknowledgement within the security establishment that the forces could do with fewer numbers, particularly given its successes over the last one year in eliminating top terrorist commanders. Security officials have also claimed that there has been some improvement in how the public responds to counter-terror operations.
A team of security officers next travelled to Jammu and Kashmir on 15 August to interact with field commanders and lay the groundwork for the troop withdrawal. A few hours before the team landed,Prime Minister Narendra Modi– addressing the nation from Red Fort in Delhi – described the past year as ‘a very important milestone’ for the development journey of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions and spoke about assembly elections in J&K as soon as the election commission