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SOURCE: ANI

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of Eastern Command, Lieutenant General Rana Pratap Kalita, on Sunday urged ULFA-I’s elusive commander Paresh Baruah to come to the table for talks. “The Assam Chief Minister has repeatedly appealed to him to come into the mainstream and to give different opportunities to our new generation. I urge him to come out for talks,” Lt General Kalita told ANI in Guwahati.

He further said that ULFA-I’s influence at the ground level in the state has drastically decreased. “ULFA no longer has influence at ground level in the state. It has some influence in only four districts of Assam,” Lt. General Kalita said. Lt General Kalita also said that the Indian Army is completely prepared to meet any emergency situation and any sort of challenges.

While replying to a question on the Chinese army’s warlike preparedness along the border areas, Lt General Kalita told ANI “It’s not 1962 anymore, it’s now 2022 – 60 years have already passed.” He said the Indian Army would ensure the country’s territorial integrity at all costs. “The nation has done such great progress, not only in infrastructure development, but also in capability development in all domains including military capability, economics, and foreign affairs. We assure everyone that the Indian army is completely prepared whether in eastern borders or in northern borders or in western borders to meet any emergency situation and any sort of challenge. We assure the nation that, we will ensure the territorial integrity of the country at all costs,” he said.

While talking on the issue of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), the GOC-in-C said that AFSPA has now been repealed from most of the areas of the North Eastern region. “Meghalaya is now a peaceful state, Tripura is completely peaceful, and in Mizoram development is taking place. Apart from four districts, AFSPA has been repealed in other areas of the state. In Nagaland and Manipur, AFSPA has been removed in several districts. That’s all related to the violence parameters. As when the violence parameters come down, there is a proper process which is followed in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of Defence is involved.

At the ministerial level, there is a dialogue and based on the ground situation and feedback from various stakeholders, they take a final call on whether to repeal AFSPA or not,” Lt. General Kalita said. He further said that he is very positive regarding the efforts done by the security forces in achieving normalcy. “But I am very positive. I look at it from a very positive perspective, because lots of efforts are being done by the security agencies, all the stakeholders together and in this effort to achieve normalcy together. So, all of us have been able to control the security situation and have been able to bring down the violence which has given an opportunity to the people to aspire for peace and development. I am quite positive,” he said.