Army reducing footprint in North East: Army Chief

Army Chief General Manoj Naravane and others during the inauguration of a new residential facility at Kohima Orphanage and Destitute Home (KODH) in Kohima on November 25, 2020. (Photo: PRO- Def, Kohima/Morung File)
Army Chief General Manoj Naravane and others during the inauguration of a new residential facility at Kohima Orphanage and Destitute Home (KODH) in Kohima on November 25, 2020. (Photo: PRO- Def, Kohima/Morung File)

Morung Express News
Dimapur | January 12 

Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Tuesday said that the force was reducing presence in the North East due to improved security situation in the region, various media outlets reported.

“The army chief said that the force was reducing its footprint in the North-east with the security situation there improving manifold in recent years,” the Hindustan Times reported.

He said one brigade had been relieved of ‘counter-insurgency duties’ and two more would follow suit, it said. 

Naravane reportedly presented the information during his annual press conference in New Delhi, where he discussed security situation across the country as well as other matters concerning the force.  

“We are drawing down in the North-east. It will help us focus more on our primary task, which is dealing with external threats,” the report said quoting the General.  

According to the digital news outlet The Print, Naravane further informed that while the Army is planning to gradually reduce troops deployed in the North East, it is not contemplating moving soldiers out of Jammu and Kashmir because of the “prevailing terror situation in the Union Territory.”

“Naravane says situation in North East, especially Nagaland, has significantly improved, which could see more troops being pulled out from the region,” the report said, and concentrating on its primary duty of dealing with external threats.

ANI news agency also reported that Naravane expressed hope that NSCN (K), which is only group not in the ceasefire in Nagaland, will soon rejoin the ceasefire process.

"There was no violence in Mizoram. In Manipur, there were one or two groups that were involved. Most of Assam is quiet. So overall, the situation in the North East has improved by leaps and bounds over the last one or two years," he said, 

According to The Print, he further noted that presently, concerns remain only in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh. 

Naravane, mentioned that certain emergent requirements keep coming up, especially in aid to civil authorities and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, for which the Army has to step up and be available.  He cited the recent example of a forest fire in Dzükou Valley in Nagaland, it added.