‘India to cut IHK forces by 25%’ | Pakistan Today

‘India to cut IHK forces by 25%’

NEW DELHI – Indian Home Secretary GK Pillai said on Friday the country was planning to reduce its security forces by 25 percent in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) in order to ease conditions for the local people in one of the world’s most militarised areas, but India’s Army chief ruled out any reduction in forces in IHK, AFP reported.
Speaking at a university seminar on IHK in the Indian capital, Pillai said the government was looking at cutting troops by “25 percent in 12 months from populated areas”. “If we can manage with local police, that would be the most ideal situation, and this is one of the confidence-building measures – that people don’t get harassed by the over-presence of security forces,” Pillai said. “If peace comes, people are comfortable, we can gradually reduce our presence and make sure that all forces are there only at the border for preventing infiltration.” However, Indian Army chief General VK Singh said he did not feel the need to “cut down” forces in IHK. “We have not yet felt that we have to cut down our forces. If they want to cut down para-military and police forces, I won’t say anything…”
India to ease travel permits: Pillai also said India will “unilaterally” ease travel restrictions and give multiple-entry permits valid for six months to Pakistani Kashmiris who want to visit their families in Indian-held Kashmir. Pillai said Pakistan did not agree to the Indian government’s idea to ease travel curbs on families divided across the Line of Control. “We will do it unilaterally now. People from Azad Kashmir can have multiple entry one permit so that they don’t have to re-apply whenever they want to visit their divided families again,” Pillai said, adding the permit would be valid for six months.

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